Grammar Giggle – Jucer

I’ve heard juicing is good for you, but I’m not sure that’s what this piece of Black & Decker equipment does. At least that’s not exactly what the label says.

Black and Decker Jucer

Not Only More Subject/Verb Agreement But Also Intervening Clauses

questionWe’ll look at more subject/verb agreement today. If you missed last week’s topic, please see “Singular Verb, Plural Subject, Both . . . and, It’s All About the Agreement.”

When you have two subjects connected by and and preceded by eacheverymany a, or many an, use a singular verb.

  • Every car, truck, and van on the street is going 15 miles over the speed limit.

The same sentence without every would use a plural verb.

  • All cars, trucks, and vans on the street are going 15 miles over the speed limit.

When you have two singular words joined by oreither . . . orneither . . . nornot only . . . but also, the subject is singular and so you use a singular verb.

  • Neither the bride nor the groom was ready to walk down the aisle.
  • Either basil or mint is called for in the recipe.
  • Not only billing but also his expense reimbursement needs to get done on the first day of the month.

If, however, the subject is two or more plural words joined by oreither . . . orneither . . . nornot only . . . but also, then the subject is plural and you must use a plural verb.

  • Neither the paralegals nor the attorneys have any time for that project.
  • Either red roses or white daisies make her happy.

Just to keep it confusing, if you have a singular and a plural subject joined by oreither . . . orneither . . . nornot only . . . but also, your verb should agree with the nearest part of the subject. It usually sounds better to have plural verbs, so where possible, you should try to move the plural subject closest to the verb whenever you can.

  • Neither Joe nor his brothers are going to the beach.
  • Neither Joe’s brothers nor Joe is going to the beach.
  • Not only research knowledge but also grammar skills are important in a job search.

When you have an intervening clause between subject and verb (or multiple subjects and a verb), ignore the intervening clause to determine if you need a singular or plural verb.

  • The point of the exercises was to teach correct use of apostophes.
  • Only one of the examinees was prepared with supplies.

I hope that helps with subject/verb agreement. If you have any questions about this or have another topic you would like to see covered, please let me know at proofthatblog@gmail.com. Also remember that you can add your email address to the “Subscribe to Blog via Email” area on the top right hand side of the page and the posts will be emailed to you! Lastly, if you are learning something, please share with others who might be interested. Thanks!

Grammar Giggle – Suga, ah Honey Honey

A friend sent this to me and I immediately thought of the Archie’s song “Sugar, Sugar.” It doesn’t appear to be a space or margin issue, just an issue of not including all the letters and not checking to make sure it was right.

Suga

Grammar Giggle – Is THERE Too Much Focus On Wrong Words, ESPN?

It is so disheartening that ESPN could make this error. This is the kind of error I see on Facebook a lot, but ESPN’s business is words and they should get it right. Their, there, they’re–they may all sound alike, but they are very different!

ESPN

Singular Verb, Plural Subject, Both . . . and, It’s All About the Agreement

Subject verbOne thing everyone learned in the fourth grade that hasn’t changed is that your verb must agree with your subject–both in number and person. For example:

  • He is anxious for his test results. (Singular verb is agrees with singular subject he.)
  • They are the noisiest group in the office. (Plural verb are agrees with plural subject they.)
  • Your order for six laptops is on the reception desk. (Singular verb is agrees with singular subject order.)

Where you have a subject with two or more words connected by and or both  . . . and, the subject is plural and requires a plural verb.

  • Andy and Sharon were nominated for office.
  • Both the set up and delivery of the computer were included in the price.

However, when two things connected with and actually refer to the same thing, use a singular verb.

  • Hamhocks and beans is his favorite New Year’s Day tradition. (Hamhocks and beans is one dish so it needs the singular verb is.)
  • The secretary and treasurer of the association is Mary. (Two positions handled by one person requires the singular verb is.)

That’s it for today, but we will follow up with more next week. Go forth and engage in plural and singular subject/verb agreement!

 

Grammar Giggle – Let’s Go Wresaling!

My brother caught this one on the evening news the other day. Perhaps it is spelled semi-phonetically, but it is very obviously wrong . . . on so many levels.

Sign

Grammar Giggle – Happy New Year!

I stole this from the “I am not a grammar cop. I am an English language enthusiast.” Facebook page, but it was all too fitting for a January 1 Grammar Giggle. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

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Try and Get This Right So We Can Try to Learn Something!

23459583_sA quick topic for today. The phrase “try and” is colloquial, meaning it is used more in informal conversation and is not used in formal writing. The correct term should be try to.

  • “Let’s try and get this car started” is OK if you’re talking to your buddy.
  • “Let’s try to get this report filed” is better if you are using business email or talking to someone at work.

Grammar Girl explained it well when she said if you use “try and” in a sentence like “I want to try and call Grammar Girl,” you are really doing two things–trying and calling. If you use “try to” in that same sentence–“I want to try to call Grammar Girl,”–you are using the preposition “to” to link the trying to the calling. (http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/a-few-short-questions)

This is really a simple thing that isn’t a “make it or break it” kind of thing, but is still important.

Do you have questions about whether or not something is correct or do you have examples of things you see over and over that you don’t think are right? Forward them on to me (proofthatblog@gmail.com) and I’ll address them here.

Grammar Giggles – Merry Chirstmas!

Now that the stress of the holidays is nearly over, I can get back on track. My sister sent me this card she received in the mail. Not only did the printer not catch the error, but I assume someone paid money for these cards and sent them out to their friends and family so who knows how many of them are in circulation. All I can say is “Wow!”

Christmas card

Grammar Giggles – Was You A Good Girl?

I found this one on Twitter.  It’s crazy that a mailing goes out from a business without being proofread. Not only “you was,” but why are “Good Girl” and “Reward You” capitalized? These mistakes are inexcusable.

Merle Norman