S-V Agreement

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  • Topic: Grammatical number, Pronoun, Plural
  • Pages : 37 (10330 words )
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  • Published : October 9, 2012
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Chapter 1
The Problem and its Background

Introduction

Agreement is the grammatical logic or coherence in the links between parts of a sentence. An example of agreement is the subject-verb agreement, wherein the subject and the verb are considered the significant form (Ramos 87). In subject verb agreement, the general rule that we follow is that the verb should always agree with the subject. A singular subject requires a singular verb, and a plural subject requires a plural verb. To apply the rule, however, one must be able to do three things: remember that the subject controls the verb form and not be distracted by other structures which may stand close to the verb; be able to determine the number of the subject; and finally know the correct singular and plural forms of the verb (Hopper et al 60).

Subject-verb agreement has six classifications. The first classification is the singular subject-verb agreement. It states that a singular subject requires a singular verb, but there are cases that a subject is singular in form but plural in meaning. Ex: The family were informed as soon as they could be reached by telephone (Berengelman 44).

The second classification is the plural subject-verb agreement. It states that a plural subject takes a plural verb. But there are special cases that a plural noun can be singular in meaning or both singular and plural in meaning. Ex: billiards, news, mathematics, linguistics, and measles are singular in meaning therefore, they require a singular verb. Politics and statistics can be both plural and singular. When they denote the field of knowledge or activity they are singular; in most other uses they are plural (Cortez 77).

The third classification is the compound subject-verb agreement. A compound subject is subject that is joined by conjunctions such as and, either-or, neither-nor etc. Compound subject coordinated by and is nearly always plural and requires a plural verb. Ex: The senator and his wife were warmly received. If however, the compound subject refers to just one person or thing, then the verb form is singular. Ex: A scholar and a gentleman is what he strives to be. Singular nouns coordinated by “or”, “either…or”, “neither…nor”, or by “not only…but also” are regarded as a singular subject and requires a singular verb form (Dryry 53).

The fourth classification is the pronoun subject-verb agreement. Pronouns are classified into personal and indefinite. In personal pronoun, singular pronoun such as he, she, and it requires a singular verb, plural pronoun such as we and they requires a plural verb. On the other hand, most indefinite pronouns are regarded as singular pronouns and require a singular verb form. Few indefinite pronouns such as many, several, and few refer to more than one person or things. These pronouns are plural and take plural verb forms.

The fifth classification is subject with intervening words. The rule states that the verb agrees with the subject, not with the elements in the modifier of the subject. Ex: Each of the sofas is ninety inches long. The verb agrees with the subject even if the following modifiers sounds and looks like a coordinator joining two nouns. Ex: The mayor, as well as the councilmen, has been implicated. The verb agrees with the subject, not with the following complement. Ex: The greatest nuisance is the refund we have to make. If for any reason the subject is moved out of the subject position, it will still control the verb form as long as another nominal is not moved into its place. Ex. Ramon and Eduardo are at the jai-alai game.

The sixth classification is the special subject-verb agreement. Special subject are those that express fraction, quantity of money, time, distance and the words variety and number. Nouns that specify an amount of something are singular when the thing or people involved are regarded as a unit; in this case they take singular verb. Ex: Two plus two is four, Two-thirds of the...
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