Write for Business - Blog

UpWrite Press understands the importance of writing skills in business: We're business people just like you. On this blog you'll find tips to improve your writing, along with topics of interest to our staff.

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    Avoiding Sentence Errors: Agreement of Subject and Verb: Subjects with or/nor

    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    Singular subjects joined by or or nor require a singular verb.

    Either Spencer or Laura is expected to attend the meeting.

    Note: Sometimes one of the subjects joined by or or nor is singular and one is plural;the verb should agree with the subject closer to the verb.

    Neither his complaints nor his attitude was the reason I changed my mind.
    (The singular subject attitude is closer to the verb; therefore, the singular verb was is used to agree with attitude.)

    (From Write for Business, page 261, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 73)

    Avoiding Sentence Errors: Agreement of Subject and Verb: Compound Subjects

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    Compound subjects connected with and almost always take a plural verb.

    Hard work and attention to detail are her greatest strengths.

    (From Write for Business, page 261, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 73)

    Avoiding Sentence Errors: Agreement of Subject and Verb: Delayed Subjects

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    Delayed subjects result when the verb precedes the subject (an inverted sentence). In such sentences, the true (delayed) subject must agree with the verb.

    There are many interesting stops along the way.
    There can be no smoking on the bus.
    (Stops and smoking are the subjects of these sentences, not there.)

    (From Write for Business, page 261, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 73)

    Avoiding Sentence Errors: Agreement of Subject and Verb: Number

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    The subject and verb of any clause must agree in number (singular or plural).

    The members were proud of their sales record.
    (Both the subject members and the verb were are plural; they agree in number.)

    Note: Do not be confused by words between the subject and verb.

    Our director, along with most of the associate directors, finds the new procedure awkward at best.
    (Director, not associate directors, is the subject.)

    (From Write for Business, page 261, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 73)