Category: Subject and Verb Agreement

Sweating the Small Stuff

Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2013, at 2:19 pm

At a football game a few weeks ago, Notre Dame University sold soda in cups that said, “Figthing Irish.” Did no one at this distinguished school have the time or pride to proofread a two-word slogan? Here are a few other items we’ve seen recently and now wish we hadn’t… Back to Basics Many professional …

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How Did They Get In Here?

Posted on Sunday, August 11, 2013, at 11:06 am

Writers today have problems keeping their sentences internally consistent. This is especially true of print journalists. Because of staff cutbacks at financially challenged newspapers, many articles are proofread hastily, if at all. Combine that with the shocking decline in Americans’ English language skills over the last fifty years or so and you get sentences unworthy …

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Subject and Verb Agreement with Collective Nouns

Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2010, at 2:47 pm

Do you use a singular or plural verb to match a collective noun such as team or staff? The answer is, It depends. If these nouns are acting as a unit, use a singular verb. Example: The team is heading for practice this afternoon. If the sentence indicates more individuality, use a plural verb. Example: …

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None Were vs. None Was

Posted on Sunday, June 14, 2009, at 2:15 pm

Rule: The word none is versatile. It has a plural sense (“not any”) as well as a singular sense (“not a single one”). When none is followed by of, look at the noun in your of phrase (object of the preposition). If the object of the preposition is singular, use a singular verb. If the …

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Definite Ideas About Definite and Indefinite Articles

Posted on Thursday, February 5, 2009, at 10:13 am

Take a look at this sentence from a restaurant review that was sent in by a reader: The restaurant operates with an efficiency and authority that defy the chaos in the pleasant but cramped room. Is it correct to use the indefinite article an in front of an abstract noun (efficiency)? If so, should we …

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