Saturday, 12 October 2013


Are you sure is is right? What does one do to decide?
Illustration by Samantha Kickingbird

Often, singular verbs sound odd in a sentence--let's look at the  rule: 
   When using a singular noun or subject, the verb needs to be singular.  When using a plural noun or subject, the verb needs to be plural.
The sentences below are written correctly (nouns or subjects are underlined).
     -  "The pot of onions is cooking over the fire." (pot of onions is considered the subject).
    -  "Suzy's favorite book is adventures."
   -  "Fantasies are my favorite type of book."
   -   "Neither is correct."
   -   "Neither of them is correct." ('of them' is a modifier--the presence of a modifier is irrelevant).
   -   "Either the dragons or the donkey is responsible for the mess." (this sentence is technically correct, but akward).
   -   "Either the dragon or the donkeys are responsible for the mess."
   -   "The Lord of the Kingdoms is getting frustrated with all of his subjects who are asking silly questions." (Lord of the Kingdoms is one person).
So, just as you thought is was all pretty straight forward--these sentences are correct also:
   -  "The rules of the kingdom are listed in the royal rule book."
   -  "The economics of the kingdom are silly."
   -  "Economics is a silly topic."
   -  "The dragon is one of those eccentric creatures who do not follow the rules." (Think like, "those who do not follow the rules.)
   -   "I am the only one of my friends who does follow the rule." (Think like, "one who does follow the rule.)
As we see: is, are, do, and does can sometimes be meddlesome. The rule is not always pertaining to the noun they are beside, but often pertaining to the subject.The best way to decide is to look at the noun or subject you are referring to--is it singular or plural?
It is hereby proclaimed that there is no single rule regarding singularity of nouns.  

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Article Copyright, Diane Mae Robinson, 2013