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The Ins and Outs of Subject-Verb Agreement: Part III |

Including even more esoteric reasons to use a singular or plural verb in certain situations

In Part III, let’s look at additional issues that can trip up writers when it comes

Those of a certain age may recall reciting math facts in elementary school, beginning with “one and

” Funny thing is, in American English, it’s long been more popular for writers to write “one

Sometimes it just helps to know whether a certain type of phrase takes a singular or plural

Instead, a singular verb would be used as in “Study after study has shown that most children

Same goes for sentences that use “more than one” as in “more than one study

” Luckily, it also sounds better than “More than one study were clear on the subject

It stands to reason, though, that a verb following the word “one” when it’s used with “

Decades are simple when it comes to subject-verb agreement: They always take a plural verb

“The 1960s were a time of upheaval,” for example, is correct

When different varieties of a thing are mentioned side by side, they take a plural verb as

Consider this example: “Classical and jazz music were widely studied throughout the twentieth century

” When both nouns are plural, it makes sense to use a plural verb as in “Neither the

” An issue arises, though, when a singular and a plural noun are used together in such a

The rule to keep in mind: Base the verb on the noun closest to the verb