Lecture 3 Subject-verb Concord II 3.1 Problems of Concord with a Coordinate Subject 3.2 Problems of Concord with Expressions of Quantity as Subject 3.3 Other Problems of Subject-verb Concord 3.1 Problems of Concord with a Coordinate Subject I. Coordination with “and” or “both… and” 1. usually treated as plural when it refers to two or more than two persons / things 2. treated as singular when it refers to only one person or thing. The poet and singer has come. Determiner Head word A and B = 2 parts The A and the B = 2 parts The A and B=1unit Observe the Following Sentences: Wits and humour abounds in the book. War and peace is a constant theme in the history. Truth and honesty is the best policy. The hustle and bustle of the city life fatigues many people. Salt and water is also a kind of medicine. Egg and rice is her usual breakfast. A. 两种抽象的东西 被看作是一个 不可分割的整体 B. 两个名词已构成 一种食品 3 Elliptical Construction with And: Elliptical construction with and has a plural mean and the predicate verb takes Pl. form. Good and bad taste are inculcated by example. Good taste and bad taste What I say and think are no business of yours. What I say and what I think 4 when modified by each/every/many a When the coordinated noun phrases by and are preceded by each, every, no, many a, the verb usually takes singular form. Every boy and every girl in this room is entitled to a copy. Many a man and woman in this community finds himself or herself in need. No teacher and no students is admitted. II. Coordination with or/ either… or/ nor/neither… nor/not only ... but also 1. Here the problem of concord is generally dealt with according to the principle of proximity. 2. But in informal style, items coordinated by “neither… nor”, “not only ... but also” can sometimes be regarded as plural. My sisters or my brother is is likely to be at home. Either my father or my brothers are coming. Neither the players nor the coach was / (were) overconfident. Not only the switches but also the old wiring has / (have) been changed. 3) Subject + as much as; Subject + as well as • The form of the following verb is determined by the subject. • subordinate constructions : more than, rather than, no less than; • prepositional phrases : in addition to, with, along with, together with, except, including, like, accompanied by, besides, but. Exercise: 1. Neither Russia nor the united states_______ (has, has have) been able to discover a mutual satisfactory plan for gradual disarmament. 2. Even minor amendments or innovations_______ (was, were were) given heavy publicity. was were) 3. His friend and fellow author _______ (was, cool to the idea of collaborating on a cookbook. 4. All this effort and sacrifice _______ (has, has have) helped to alleviate poverty. 5. _______ (Is, Are Are) January and February the coldest months of the year 6. In many years of service, neither Philips nor I _______ (has, have have) seen anything like it. 7. It became necessary to involve every man, woman and child who _______ (was, was were) willing to help. 8. Law and order_______ (means, means mean) different things to people with different political opinions. 9. If your wife or husband_______ (is, is are) proficient in English, there are many study courses from which they can choose. 10. Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed, every hour of the day, _______(produces, produces produce) some change in the hues and shapes of these mountains. 3.2 Problems of Concord with Expressions of Quantity as Subject • Quantitative expressions fall into categories: Definite and Indefinite. I. Concord with Expressions of Definite Quantity as Subject 1. When a definite quantity is regarded as a single unit, the verb takes the singular form 2. when used in the sense of the individuals that constitute the quantity, the verb takes the plural form. He thought that 65 dollars was not too much to ask. There were 6 silver dollars in each of the stockings. (the coins) 3. Fraction / Percentage + of-phrase the form of the verb is determined by the noun in the of-phrase. A plural noun in the of-phrase requires a plural verb; A singular or a mass noun in the of-phrase is to be followed by a singular verb Over 60% of the city was destroyed in the war. Two-thirds of the swampland has been reclaimed for farming. Nearly 50% of the doctors are women. 4 If the subject is an expression of “A plus / and B” or “A multiplied by B”, the verb can either take the singular or the plural form. 5 If the subject is one of “A minus B” or “A divided by B” the verb can only be singular. Seven plus / and five (7+5) makes / make twelve. Forty minus fifteen (40-15) leaves twenty-five. Five times eight (5x8) is / are forty. Forty divided by eight (40÷8) is five. 6 one in / out of +plural noun the verb takes singular form in formal style. but in informal style it can be plural One in ten students has / have failed the exam. One out of twenty was / were badly damaged. II. Concord with expression of indefinite quantity as subject 1 When the subject is a noun phrase composed of “all of …, some of …, none of …, half of …, most of …, etc”, the number of the verb is determined by the noun in the of-phrase. 2 This is also true of “lots of, heaps of, loads of, scads of, plenty of, + noun” All of the cargo was lost. All of the crew were saved. Lots of food is going to waste. Lots of people are waiting outside. 3 When the subject is a noun preceded by “a portion of, a series of, a pile of, a panel of”, the verb invariably takes the singular form, whatever the forms of the noun. 4 when the subject is a noun, singular or plural, preceded by “a kind / sort / type of” or by “this kind / sort / type of”, the verb takes singular form. A substantial portion of the reports is missing. A series of accidents has been reported. This kind of man annoys me. That type of car is old-fashioned. 5 If “kind / sort / type of” is preceded by “these / those” and followed by a plural noun, the verb should be plural. These sort of machines are up to date. 6 If the subject is noun phrase composed of “many a+ noun” or “more than one + noun”, this kind of noun phrase, though notionally plural, is treated as singular. Many a man has done his duty. More than one game was lost. 7 If the subject is a plural noun preceded by “an average of/a majority of”, the verb form is determined by the notion of the noun phrase: if the noun head is the word “average/majority” the verb should be singular; if the head is the plural noun, the verb should be plural. An average of 25 applications a month is not unusual. An average of 25 persons apply each month. Exercise: 1. The central portions of the book _______(is, are) are devoted to this theory. 2. Almost two thirds of the land in the northwest areas of the country ______(is, is are) not suitable for farming. 3. Half of the money I spend on advertising ________(is, is are) wasted, and the trouble is I don’t know which half. 4. Most of the coffee we produce _________(is, is are) for export---a high percentage _____(goes, goes go) to the US. 5. About half of the women in this area _______(is, are) are working-wives. None of them _______(has, have) has have much time to do housework. has have) been 6. Some of the furniture _______(has, moved to another room in the house. 7. I’ll keep a third of the money and the rest _______ is are) yours. (is, 8. Most of the residents ________(has, have have) already left the island; the rest ________(is, are) are preparing for the typhoon. 9. It’s a big studio, so there _______(is, is are) lots of room for all my things. was were) dumped 10. Loads of sand _______(was, by the roadside so that there was hardly any space for two cars to pass. 3.3 Other Problems of Subjectverb Concord I. Problems of concord with a nominal clause as subject II. Subject-verb concord with a non-finite clause as subject III. Subject-verb concord in relative clauses IV. Subject-verb concord in cleft-sentences V. Subject-verb concord in existential sentences I. Nominal Clause as Subject 1 When the subject is a nominal clause introduced by what, who, which, how, why, whether, etc, the verb usually takes the singular form. 2 but when two or more clauses are coordinated by and or both…and, a plural verb is required. What caused the accident is a complete mystery. What caused the accident and who was responsible for it remain a mystery to us. 3 In SVC constructions with a what-clause as subject, the verb usually takes singular form. 4 But when the subject complement is plural, or when the what-clause is plural in meaning, the verb of the main clause can be plural. What was real to him were the details of his life. What are often regarded as poisonous fungi are sometimes safely edible. II. Non-finite Clause as Subject 1 When the subject is a non-finite clause, the verb of the main clause usually takes the singular form. 2 But when two or more such clauses are coordinated by and, the verb of the main clause takes the singular form when the subject refers to one thing, and the plural form when the subject refers to separate things. To climb mountains requires courage. Playing tennis is a very good exercise. Reading Ibsen and solving a quadratic equation are entirely different assignments. III. Relative Clauses 1. In the construction of “one of +plural noun + relative clause”, the principle of grammatical concord is generally observed. 2. Sometimes, especially in British English, in order to lay emphasis on “one”, the verb can also take the singular form. 3. When “one” is preceded by “the” or “the only”, the verb can only be singular. Joan is one of those people who go out of their way to be helpful. Jasper White is one of those rare people who believes in ancient myths. He is the only one of those boys who is willing to take on another assignment. IV. Cleft-sentences 1. In cleft-sentences, subject-verb concord in that-/ who-clause is generally determined by the number of the focal element functioning as subject in the clause. 2. when the focal element is “I”, the verb to be in the following who-/ that-clause usually agree with “I” in both person and number; It is I who am to blame. 3. If the focal element is “me” instead of “I”, the verb to be in the following who-/ that-clause should take the third person singular number. It is me that is to blame. V. Existential Sentences 1. In existential sentences, subject-verb concord is generally determined by the number of the “notional subject”, 2. But in informal style, especially in spoken language, the verb often agrees with the “formal subject” and takes the singular form, even though the “notional subject” is plural. 3. When the notional subject is a coordinate construction, the verb form goes with the first coordinate element of the notional subject, singular or plural. There is a note left on the desk. There are three routes you can take. There’s more grace and less carelessness. There’s a long springboard, and three rafts at varying distances from the shore. Exercise: is are) a 1. Eating，unlike fighting, _______ (is, pursuit in which both sexes freely indulge. 2. What make the river more beautiful _______ (is, are are) the lotus plants growing in the river. 3. What we have just described _______ (is, is are) the general pattern of the internal heat engine’s work output as we can see it today. 4. Children interfering in their parents’ right to has have) become a remarry _______ (has, social problem. 5. To go there on Monday _______ (is, is are) pointless---there’s a public holiday. 6. Why he entered the house and how he managed to get out of it without being seen by people _______ (remains, remain remain) a mystery to us all. 7. What appear to be disciplinary problems are easily solved by very _______ (is, are) elementary applied psychology. 8. He’s one of those men who never _______ care how they look. (cares, care) 9. There are few things in this world that _______ (give, give gives) me more pleasure than a long bath. 10. Watering the flowers and looking after the are all she has to do children ______ (is, are) every day. 11. Sitting and talking to old friends _______ (is, is are) a pleasant way to spend an evening. 12. Can you say “no” to a friend or relative who wants want) to insist? _______ (wants, 13. Ever since their quarrel, there ______ (has has been, been have been) an unpleasant atmosphere in the office. 14. There______ (is,are are) a few cakes left over from the party---would you like one? 15. There________ is (is, are) plenty of evidence to suggest that children are better at learning languages than adults.