Subject/verb arrangement can appear uncomplicated for native speakers and others comfortable with English; we understand to write “the lawyer argues” and “the attorneys argue.” However, some special scenarios can make it more difficult to tell whether a subject and verb truly do concur. These complications can emerge from the words themselves, or from their order in a particular sentence.
Acknowledging plural and particular nouns
Again, the essentials are straightforward – we normally include an “s” to the end of a noun to form a plural (a group of more than one “accused” constitutes “accuseds”) and understand the most typical irregular plurals (a group of more than one “kid” is a group of “children”). However here are a few to look out for.
Some words you might not recognize are particular:
another – anybody – anyone – anything
each – either – every – everybody
everyone – less – little – much
neither – nobody – none – no one
nothing – somebody – someone – something
1) Words that seem to describe a group but must be treated like individuals because they are grammatically particular. They are:
For some words, it might help to consider the word split into its parts, so that “everybody” becomes “each,” “none” becomes “not one,” and so on. This strategy stresses that the topic is “one” (” every” shows which “one” is under consideration) and “one” is obviously singular.
Incorrect: “Of all the trainees in the class, none have taken Latin.”
Right: “Of all the students in the class, none has actually taken Latin.”
2) Words that end in “s” however represent a concept as a whole. Some examples: news, politics, data, economics.
Incorrect: “Gymnastics are more hazardous than football.”
Right: “Gymnastics is more unsafe than football.”
3) Collective nouns that represent a group of individuals acting as a body. Consider the following:
Right: “The Sons of the Revolution has actually an intertwined relationship with the state.”
Although under normal scenarios, “sons” would take a plural verb, in this case the author has actually properly understood that “Sons of the Revolution” is an appropriate noun describing one organization as a whole, instead of several specific children.
Likewise, some common nouns that may represent a group of individuals acting as one are:
board (of directors) – committee – corporation – couple
court – family – government – jury
majority – panel (of judges)
Keep in mind that a few of these words need to be handled differently if they are utilized to represent a group of individuals acting independently (see “Some words you might not recognize are plural,” below), however that some are always singular; for example, whether it includes one individual, as in a high court, or of a body of people, “the court” is regarded as an organization, and for that reason takes a singular verb.
Incorrect: “The court stated that they were ill-equipped to second-guess the trial court judge’s determination.”
Right: “The court specified that it was ill-equipped to second-guess the trial court judge’s decision.”
This is also true of expressions handling time, cash, and weight.
Incorrect: “Five thousand dollars were awarded to the plaintiff.”
Right: “Five thousand dollars was awarded to the complainant.”
Consider such quantities as swelling sums instead of individual dollars (pounds, hours, and so on).
Some words … Read full