Update: 2016-09-20 12:08 AM -0400

TIL

English Grammar in Plain Language

ch07.htm

by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning).
Based on Barron’s Educational Series, Grammar In Plain English, by Diamond, H. and Dutwin, P., Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., Woodbury, New York. Copyright 1977. Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR : 
http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com 

index.htm |Top
EGPE-indx.htm

Contents of this page

Number: Special Problems
01. Special Problems of Agreement
02. Surprisingly Singular Subjects
03. Plural Subjects

UKT notes

 

Contents of this page

01. Special Problems of Agreement

You know that in a sentence action word, V, must agree with its subject, S (which is a noun or noun phrase) in number, and in tense. For example:

The jury enters the courtroom. A hush falls over the crowd.
The judge asks for the verdict.

You also know that a linking word must agree with its subject in number and with the sentence or paragraph in time. For example:

Court is in session. Please remain silent.
The defendant seems apprehensive. The prosecutor appears angry.

You should be careful when using the following words:

Each  • Either-Or  • Here and There  • Who and That

01.01. Each

Each is singular when it is the performer or subject of the sentence. Example:

Each shows promise.

Performer is Each. Action word is shows.

 

01.02. Either-Or

When using either-or, you are choosing one or the other. The action or linking word is singular if the performer or subject closest to it is singular. Example:

Either Tom or Bill drives to school.

Drives agrees with the singular performer, Bill.

The action verb is plural if the subject closest to it is plural. Example:

Either Tom or his friends drive to school.

Drive agrees with the plural performer, friends.

 

01.03. Any

Any is singular. It is used when a choice involves three or more. Either is used for a choice between two. Example:

Any of the three movies suits me.

 

01.04. Here and There:

In sentences which begin with here or there, the action or linking word must agree with the performer or subject. Here and there are never performers or subjects. Example:

Here is my coat.

What is here? Coat.

Coat is the subject. Coat is singular; therefore the singular linking word is correctly completes the sentence.

 

01.05 Who and That:

You are familiar with the following sentence structures:

The woman attends every meeting.

Performer is woman., and action word is attends. Woman is singular. The action word attends agrees with the performer woman.

One of those women attends every meeting.

Performer is one, and action word is attends. One is singular. The action word attends agrees with the performer one.

Let’s take a significantly different example.

One of those women who attend every meeting seldom speaks.

Here we have to find the core of the sentence. And it is:

One seldom speaks.

The performer is one, and the action word is speaks. One is singular. The action word speaks agrees with the performer one.

Of those women who attend every meeting describes or tells more about one.

Who might be singular or plural. How do we decide? We look at the word to which who refers. In this case that word is women. Women is plural, therefore who is plural. Within the group of descriptive words, of those women who attend every meeting, attend must agree with who. Since who is plural in this case, attend agrees with who.

This rule also applies to that. Examples:

The ruler belongs to me.

The subject is ruler, and the action verb  is belongs.

One of those rulers belongs to me.

One of those rulers that are on the desk belongs to me.

 

Contents of this page

02. Surprisingly Singular Subjects

Some words seem to refer to more than one person. In fact, they do not. They are singular. These include:

Everybody means every single body.

Somebody means some one body.

Anybody means any one body.

None means no one.

Everyone means every one.

 

Contents of this page

03. Some Plural Subjects

Six words which take plural action or linking words are:

all, few, several, both, many, some

Contents of this page

UKT notes

 

Contents of this page

End of TIL file