Thursday, July 7, 2011

Collective Noun - Singular or Plural

None of the equipment was damaged. (None refers to the singular noun equipment)
None of the machines were damaged. (None refers to the plural noun machines.)
Most of the food has been eaten. (Most refers to the singular noun food)
Most of the sandwiches have been eaten. (Most refers to the plural noun sandwiches)

Note: The word none is singular when it means “ not one” and plural when it means “ not any.”


None of the hats fits. (No one fits)
None of the hats fit. (Not any fit)

Task: Identifying Subjects and Verbs that agree in Number -For each of the following sentences, identify the subjectof the verb in parentheses. Then choose the verb form that agrees in number with the subject.

Example: Not one of the pears (look, looks) ripe. one-looks

1. Many of the recipes in this cookbook (is, are) adaptable tomicrowave cooking.
2. Neither of my parents (has, have) any trouble using the metric system.
3. I know that all the workers (is, are) proud to help restore the Statue of Liberty.
4. Most of the English classes in my school (stresses, stress) composition skills.
5. Few of the students (was, were) able to spell bureaucracy correctly.
6. (Do, Does) each of you know what you’re supposed to bring tomorrow?

Compound Subjects

A compound subject is two or more subjects that have the same verb.

Subjects joined by ‘and’ usually take a plural verb:

Basil and thyme are plants of the mint family.
A compound subject may name a single person or thing. Such a compound subject takes a singular verb.

Examples: The secretary and treasurer is Govind. (one person)Grilled chicken and rice is the restaurant’s specialty.
(one dish)

Singular subjects joined by ‘or’ or ‘nor’ take a singular verb:

Examples: Neither Juan nor Jeff wants to see the movie.
Either Faridha or Tara plans to report on Latha.
Has your mother or your father met your teacher?

When a singular subject and a plural subject are joined by ‘or’ or ‘nor’, the verb agrees with the subject nearer the verb:

Examples: Neither the performers nor the director was eager to rehearse the scene again. (The singular subject director is nearer the verb.)
Neither the director nor the performers were eager to rehearse the scene again. (The plural subject performers is nearer the verb.)

Task: Correcting Errors in Subject-Verb Agreement - Most of the following sentences contain verbs that do not agree with their subjects. If the verb does not agree, give the correct form of the verb. If the verb agrees with its subject, write C.

Example: Each of the issues were resolved. was

1. One or both of the Shakespearean plays about Henry IV are likely to be performed this summer.
2. The effective date of the new regulations for nuclear power plants have not yet been determined.
3. The fact that compact discs do not wear out and do not have to be flipped over make them attractive.
4. The sales representative, with the help of her assistant, are making plans to expand her territory.
5. Not one of the speakers in the debate on South America were eager to suggest a solution to the problem.
6. Neither the proposals of the air traffic controllers nor the report of the FAA’s committee have been heeded.

Collective nouns may be either singular or plural:

A collective noun is singular in form but names a group of persons or things.

A collective noun takes a singular verb when the noun refers to the group as a unit and takes a plural verb when the noun refers to the parts or members of the group.

Singular : The band practices every day.(The band practices as a unit.)
Plural : The band buy their own uniforms.(The members of the band buy separate uniforms.)
Singular : The tour group is on the bus.(The group as a unit is on the bus).
Plural : The tour group are talking about what they expect to see. (The members of the group are talking to one another).
Singular : A flock of geese is flying over. (The flock is flying as a unit.)
Plural : The flock of geese are joining together in a V-shaped
formation. (The members of the flock are joining together.)

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