Skip to main content

Subject-Verb Agreement on Special Cases (Each, Every, Either...Or, Some, None, etc)

You know pretty well about the subject-verb agreement. The plural subjects have to take plural verb form and singular, singular verb form. But I found that several writers make simple mistakes with certain nouns, containing such words as 'everyone', 'none of', 'everybody', 'all', 'some', 'each', 'every', etc. Here are the guidelines.

These Words Are Singular

The words that are regarded to be singular and take only singular verb include these:

Every
Each
Any
Everyone
None
Neither...Nor
Either...Or
Nobody
Not any
Nothing
A little


Examples:

Each student has to be approved for participation.
None of the students was approved.
Neither Tom nor Brad is acting in this film.
Everyone has to agree to the terms.
A little water has to be found.

Usage of Either...Or and Neither...Nor

In Either...or and Neither...nor there is room for ample confusion among grammarians. If both nouns are singular, obviously the verb is singular. If both nouns are plural, there is no doubt that the verb should be plural. But when it is mixed up, you should decide as to whether plural or singular you will be using. I suggest that you determine the verb with the nearest noun. Examples:

Either my friend or my brothers seem to think it is right.
Either my brothers or my friend has to help me.
Neither my friend, nor my brothers help anyone.

These Words Form Plural

The words that cause plural verbs are these:

All
Some
A few
A number of


Examples:

All of my friends weren't present.
Some of my friends couldn't find time.
A few dogs were found on the street.

Use of As Well As and Both...and

When you use as well as in a sentence, you should decide the verb according to the first noun (as opposed to the either...or usage above). Examples:

Tom as well as his friends was present.
Tom's friends as well as Tom were present.

On the other hand, both...and construction has to have plural verb always.

Both Tom and Brad were present
Both my friend and I were happy.

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

Recommended Grammar Books From Amazon:

Comments

  1. Hi Lenin ,
    It is a nice way of representation.

    Here i would like to know how to get the portion of content in the separate box as you have done.

    Please write a post on this topic and it will be very useful for me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Suresh,

    It's just a table I used to post these examples. You can find it by looking at the source of the page. I styled up the table using CSS properties. Do you want a post on this thing? I guess it should be easy for you as you know programming well. But if you need one post, just let me know.

    Thanks for your comment

    Lenin

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated very strictly

Popular posts from this blog

What Is the Difference Between Hardcover and Paperback?

Today, my reader, Rahman contacted me with a doubt:

Dear Lenin, would you explain why there are two types of books: hardcover and paperback?
This is quite a simple affair and there are explanatory articles to be found at various places on the Net. Here is my addition.

Hardcover

A hardcover aka hardback is a book bound with thick protective cover, with usually a paper or leather dust jacket over the main cover. The aim of hardcover is protection and durability. These books are mainly for long-term use and collectors’ editions. Hardcover books last far longer than the corresponding paperbacks. They do not get damaged easily thus making them perfect for reference guides, great literary works, etc.

In addition, there is a difference in the type of paper used to print hardcover books. The paper used is long-lasting acid-free type. Acid-free paper has a pH value of 7 (neutral) which makes it highly durable. The papers are stitched and glued to the spine.

Hardbacks are prepared for commercial …

En Dash, Em Dash, and Hyphen

We have three types of dashes in use: The hyphen, En Dash, and the Em Dash. In this post, we will see how to use them all correctly.

Hyphen (-)

The hyphen is the minus key in Windows-based keyboards. This is a widely used punctuation mark. Hyphen should not be mistaken for a dash. Dash is different and has different function than a hyphen.

A hyphen is used to separate the words in a compound adjective, verb, or adverb. For instance:

The T-rex has a movement-based vision.
My blog is blogger-powered.
John’s idea was pooh-poohed.


The hyphen can be used generally for all kinds of wordbreaks.

En Dash (–)

En Dash gets its name from its length. It is one ‘N’ long (En is a typographical unit that is almost as wide as 'N'). En Dash is used to express a range of values or a distance:

People of age 55–80 are more prone to hypertension.
Delhi–Sidney flight was late by three hours.


In MS Word, you can put an En Dash either from the menu, clicking Insert->Symbol or by the key-combination, Ctrl + Num…

What Is the Meaning of the Word 'Ghajini'? Story and Trivia of Aamir Khan's New Film [Special]

[Special Entry]



Aamir Khan's latest film is titled a little weirdly for the taste of Hindi filmgoers. 'Ghajini': They have never heard of such a name, and such a word never existed in Hindi or in any other Indian language.

The name Ghajini is the name of the villain of the film. In Tamil version, the name of the villain was Laxman.

As a Tamil moviegoer, I have already watched Ghajini and know the story in full.

So, What Does the Title Mean?

In Tamil, the title of the film is inspired by the story of Mahmud of Ghazni, an ancient invader of India. This person was so persistent in invading India that he continued trying after several failures. In the film too, the protagonist is such persistent in finding out and killing the villain of the film, who had killed his girlfriend, Kalpana (played by Asin). Aamir's Character (named Sanjay Ramaswamy in Tamil), is a short-term amnesiac, who cannot remember anything more than fifteen minutes.

You may ask then how the Ghazni became…