But accuracy is one thing and graceful English is another. Even if it is true, a sentence whose subject and complement differ in number – one singular and the other plural – may seem unpleasant. Ms. Walraff presented a number of scenarios and answers. A kind of phrase they discussed was “You taught school,” in which “school” is a unique complement. It does not seem to correspond to the plural theme until we have in mind that “school” is used in an abstract way. It would not be wise to say, “You taught in school.” On the other hand, heads, necks and wives are not abstract. They are counted (and people usually have one of each). The answer is “was.” As we have already written on the blog, the verb is in agreement with the theme, not with its addition. In the five constructions above, the gap between the subject number and the predictive complement works both ways: the situation is a little more complicated when “what” (or “everything”) is the subject of a clause that is itself the subject of a sentence, such as the one you mention: “What I am asking are people who respect the rules.” What is the most confusing agreement between topics and additions you`ve ever encountered? How did you fix it? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below! In principle, the second sentence (the so-called “correct” answer) is grammatically imperfect. Remember, there is another grammatical rule: the subject and the addition of the subject should match in the number.
Agreement (or concord) of verbs with their subjects and pronouns with their unprecedented nouns on the basis of meaning and not grammatical form. Also known as Synese. Ms. Walraff spends a few pages on this subject and proposes three solutions to this enigma. The first, as we mentioned, is not to worry too much about the situation. Most of the problems with thematic supplements are “harmless,” she says. Okay, we can all relax on this. The grammar police won`t show up at our door. The second is to consider rewriting the sentence and the third is to add additional information indicating how many items you are talking about.
Perhaps we could rewrite it this way in this case: “Both authors had broken throats, or we could add information by saying, “Both authors complained that they had neck pain caused by the excessive deviance of their windows.” A: Your question raises two common problems in the subject verb agreement, a topic that can be notoriously confusing: one of the first steps to ensure agreement between subjects and supplements is the identification of obvious errors. The basic grammar rules tell us that if the subject is singular, the supplement should also be singular. If the theme is plural, the supplement should be plural.