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Flashcards in Agreement Deck (118)
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1

Name the 3 principles of subject-verb agreement.

  1. formal (or grammatical) agreement
    a singular subject requires a singular verb; a plural subject requires a plural verb
  2. notional concord
    when number of subject is uncertain or when overt grammatical form conflicts w/ intended meaning, we rely on the verb that matches the meaning, not the overt grammatical form.
    Fifty pages of manuscript is a day's worth of work.
  3. attraction (or proximity)
    verb takes the form of the closest subject
    For those who attended the second day of the annual meeting, there was an early morning panel and afternoon workshops.

2

What is the elementary principle of subject-verb agreement?

The grammatical subject determines the number of the verb.

Thus

Nouns that appear in the predicate have no bearing on the number of the main verb

The only SIGN of Christmas WAS the stocking on the mantel

3

The only sign of Christmas (was, were) the stocking on the mantel.

WAS

  • Only the grammatical subject determines the number of the verb.
  • Nouns that appear in the predicate have no bearing on the number of the main verb

4

A pair of singular nouns joined by AND requires a (singular, plural) verb.

What are the two exceptions?

PLURAL

  1. appositive nouns joined by AND
  2. Nouns joined by AND that form a collective idea or unitary whole.

5

Such an injustice and inequity (is, are) intolerable.

IS

Rule: APPOSITIVE NOUNS joined by and are treated as singular.

6

Bacon and eggs (is, are) her favorite breakfast.

IS

Rule: Nouns joined by and to form a COLLECTIVE IDEA or UNITARY WHOLE are singular.

7

Consumer and business confidence (remains, remain) high.

REMAIN

Remain is plural even though confidence is singular, because of the ELLIPTICAL CONSTRUCTION of the compound subject, i.e., the subject is "consumer [confidence] and business confidence." To use a singular verb would imply that there is an entity known as "consumer and business confidence.

8

For copyeditors, a style manual, as well as a dictionary, (is, are) useful.

IS 

When a singular verb sounds better, use commas to set off the as well as phrase. 

When a plural verb sounds better, do not set off the as well as phrase with commas. 

9

A style manual as well as a dictionary (is, are) always on his desk.

ARE

When a singular verb sounds better, use commas to set off the as well as phrase. 

When a plural verb sounds better, do not set off the as well as phrase with commas. 

10

A host of competitive offers (has, have) been received.

HAVE

Collecting noun phrases usually take a plural verb

although

they may take a singular verb when the collecting noun (rather than the items being collected) imposes itself as the main idea.

11

A fraction of the students (is, are) causing the disruptions.

ARE

RULE: Collecting noun phrases usually take a plural verb

although

they may take a singular verb when the collecting noun (rather than the items being collected) imposes itself as the main idea.

12

A rash of glitches (has/have) slowed production.

HAS or HAVE

Collecting noun phrases usually take a plural verb

although

they may take a singular verb when the collecting noun (rather than the items being collected) imposes itself as the main idea.

13

A set of keys (is, are) on the desk.

IS

Collecting noun phrases usually take a plural verb

although

they may take a singular verb when the collecting noun (rather than the items being collected) imposes itself as the main idea.

14

Do you think that three cars (is, are) enough for one family?

IS

Rule: COLLECTIVE IDEA 

The notionalist view is the norm: No matter the grammatical form a collective idea takes, it requires a singular verb.

15

Eight hundred words (is,are) at least one hundred words too long.

IS

Rule: COLLECTIVE IDEA 

Collective ideas always require a singular verb.

The notionalist view is the norm: No matter the grammatical form a collective idea takes, it requires a singular verb.

16

A physician's overarching objective and mission (is, are) to do no harm.

IS

Rule: COLLECTIVE IDEA 

Collective ideas always require a singular verb.

The notionalist view is the norm: No matter the grammatical form a collective idea takes, it requires a singular verb.

17

The couple (is, are) in therapy.

IS

RULE: Collective noun

Collective nouns are singular when the members of the collectivity are deemed to be acting as a group, plural when the members are acting as individuals

Collective nouns: class, committee, couple, jury, team, etc.

18

The couple (disagrees, disagree) about money.

DISAGREE

RULE: Collective noun

Collective nouns are singular when the members of the collectivity are deemed to be acting as a group, plural when the members are acting as individuals

Collective nouns: class, committee, couple, jury, team, etc.

19

Right or wrong? Revise if necessary.

The orchestra are tuning their instruments. 

Awkward

Technically right per the rule governing collecting nouns (use plural when members of collective are acting as individuals)

but AWKWARD here. (The use of the plural occasionally sounds awkward.)

PreferableThe members of the orchestra are tuning their instruments.

 

20

The recent divestiture, combined with rising costs, (is, are) expected to affect profits. 

IS

Rule: COMBINED WITH; COUPLED WITH

Phrases headed by combined with or coupled with are set off by commas and do not affect the number of the main verb.

21

The two sides are deadlocked in negotiations, and each (has, have) offered few concessions.

HAS

Rule: EACH

The pronoun each takes a singular verb, even when its antecedent is plural.  

22

We each (is, are) entitled to our own opinions.

ARE

Rule: EACH

When the adjective each follows a plural noun, the verb is plural.

23

Each of these arguments (is, are) well reasoned.

IS

Rule: EACH OF

Each of is usually followed by a singular verb, although the plural is sometimes used.

24

Each of these principles (has, have) stood the test of time.

HAVE

Rule: EACH OF

Each of is usually followed by a singular verb, although the plural is sometimes used.

25

Two-thirds of the work (is, are) done.

IS

Rule: FRACTIONS

In such constructions as "two-thirds of the x," the verb agrees with x ("work").

26

Two-thirds of the guests (is, are) here. 

ARE

Rule: FRACTIONS

In such constructions as "two-thirds of the x," the verb agrees with x ("guests").

27

Also in the employee handbook (is, are) procedures for submitting expense vouchers.

ARE

Rule: inverted word order

Although the verb precedes the subject ("procedures"), the subject determines the number of the verb.

28

Eighty-five dollars (is, are) too high.

IS

Rule: Amounts of money are singular when a specific sum is named, plural when the sum is vague.

29

Billions of dollars (was, were) wasted, and millions (is, are) unaccounted for. 

were, are

Rule: Amounts of money are singular when a specific sum is named, plural when the sum is vague.

30

Neither the president nor the secretary (was, were) at the meeting.

WAS

RULE: Formalists insists that a pair of singular nouns joined by neither...nor is singular.

but

notionalists allow the pair to be treated as singular or plural, depending on the emphasis desired.

Neither the president nor the secretary were at the meeting.