Subject-Verb Agreement

rogersgeorge on May 29th, 2016

Subject-verb agreement is the technical term for the mistake that this article from NPR discusses. Read the whole article; I could hardly have said it better myself.

But since I want to post more than a mere link, here’s the gist:

  • The 2016 Republican party platform has a section about homosexuality.
  • The first sentence in that section has two nouns near the beginning, “homosexuality,” and “truths.”
  • The verb is singular.

The rule of subject-verb agreement says that singular verbs take singular subjects, and plural verbs take plural subjects.

The intent was to use the rest of the sentence to describe truths, but the grammar had it describing homosexuality. Oops.

I think the last sentence in the article is particularly interesting.

Pay attention to your English teacher, kids! And to be really sure, have another pair of eyes look at what you write.

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Getting Things Right

rogersgeorge on May 27th, 2016

I often show mistakes in writing and use them as starting points for how to do it correctly. Here are a few places where they did it right! One of my favorite things to complain about is the expression “begs the question.” It’s a logical fallacy in which someone offers the conclusion as evidence for […]

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rogersgeorge on May 25th, 2016

English doesn’t use accents, officially, though we do have the dieresis (dee-AIR-a-sis) , which has fallen into disuse. Technically, you use the dieresis when you have a pair of vowels that could be interpreted as a digraph (both vowels making one sound such as the “oa” in “boat), but they need to be pronounced separately. […]

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rogersgeorge on May 23rd, 2016

Frazz is an excellent comic strip about a grade school janitor and a collection of precocious kids. This strip reminds me of the difference between healthy and healthful. I also agree with Mrs. Olsen, and she’s not being snobbish. One of the tricks to learning English is to know which prepositions go with which nouns. […]

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rogersgeorge on May 21st, 2016

I hardly ever get comments to this blog, but I posted a link to one of my posts on Google+ the other day, and a friend made a comment that’s not only worth repeating, but it deserves a post! Go follow the link if you want to see the cause for the comment. Here’s his comment: […]

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