Rule 17 in Subject Verb Agreement

Rule 17 in subject-verb agreement is quite simple, yet often overlooked or misunderstood by many writers. This crucial rule states that when a singular subject is connected by either/or or neither/nor to a plural subject, the verb should agree with the subject closest to it.

Let`s break it down with an example:

Incorrect: Neither the dogs nor the cat is hungry.

Correct: Neither the cat nor the dogs are hungry.

In the first sentence, the verb “is” agrees with the closest subject “dogs,” even though it should agree with the singular subject “cat.” In the corrected sentence, “are” agrees with the plural subject “dogs.”

This rule also applies when using “either” and “or.” For instance:

Incorrect: Either the boy or his friends is lying.

Correct: Either the boy or his friends are lying.

In this example, “are” agrees with the plural subject “friends.”

It`s important to note that this rule only applies when the subjects connected by either/or or neither/nor are different in number (one singular and one plural). If both subjects are singular or both are plural, the verb should agree with the subjects accordingly.

For example:

Correct: Either the cat or the dog is going to the vet.

Correct: Neither the cat nor the dog is allowed on the couch.

Correct: Both the cat and the dog are sleeping.

By following Rule 17 in subject-verb agreement, writers can ensure their sentences are grammatically correct and easy to comprehend. Remember to always check for proper subject-verb agreement, especially when using conjunctions like either/or and neither/nor.

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