9 Grammar Agreement - Pennsbury School District

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9 Grammar
Agreement
SUBJECT AND VERB AGREEMENT *
P R O N O U N A N D A N T E C E D EN T A G R E E M E N T
Subject-Verb Agreement (2a)
1.
A verb should always agree with its
subject in number. Singular subjects
take singular verbs. Plural subjects
take plural verbs.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2a)
Singular
Plural
 She searches for
 They search for
Mme. Forestier’s
necklace.
Mme. Forestier’s
necklace.
 Miss Lottie’s flower
garden was
destroyed.
 Miss Lottie’s
marigolds were
destroyed.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2b)
2.
The number of the subject is not
changed by an interruptive phrase.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2b)
Singular
Plural
 The sign near the glass
 Several paintings by
doors explains the
theme of the exhibit.
 Romeo, together with
Benvolio and Mercutio,
goes to Lord Capulet’s
party.
Emilio Sanchez were
hanging in the gallery.
 The combs made of
pure tortoise shell
were expensive.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2c)
3.
The following indefinite pronouns
are singular: anybody, anyone,
anything, each, either, everybody,
everyone, everything, neither,
nobody, no one, nothing, one,
somebody, someone, something.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2c)
 Each of the poems about farm workers
was written by Gary Soto.
 Has anyone else in your study group
read all of The Miracle Worker?
Subject-Verb Agreement (2d)
4.
The following indefinite pronouns
are plural: both, few, many, several.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2d)
 Both of the poems about the San
Joaquin Valley were written by Gary
Soto.
 Have many in your study group read
The Miracle Worker?
Subject-Verb Agreement (2e)
5.
The indefinite pronouns all, any,
most, none, and some are singular
when they refer to singular words
and are plural when they refer to
plural words.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2e)
Singular
Plural
 Some of the
 Some of the
show is funny.
skits and other
acts are funny.
 All of the house
 All of the houses
looks clean.
look clean.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f)
6.
A compound subject, which is two or
more subjects that have the same
verb, may be singular, plural, or
either.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f1)
6.
Compound subjects joined by and
usually take a plural verb; however a
compound subject that names only
one person or thing takes a singular
verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f1)
 Both Leslie Marmon Silko and
Mari Evans are poets.
 My pen pal and best friend is my
cousin.
 Macaroni and cheese makes a good
side dish.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f2)
6.
Compound subjects that are singular
and are joined by or or nor take a
singular verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f2)
 Either the principal or the coach has
to approve it.
 Neither Della nor Jim was
disappointed.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f3)
6.
When a singular subject and a plural
subject are joined (compound
subject) by or or nor, the verb
agrees with the subject nearer the
verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f3)
 Neither the losers nor the winner was
happy with the outcome of the match.
 Neither the winner nor the losers
were happy with the outcome of the
match.
Writing Tip
 If such a construction sounds awkward,
revise the sentence to give each part of
the subject its own verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2g)
7.


Don’t and doesn’t must agree with
their subjects.
With the subjects I and you and with
plural subjects, use don’t (do not).
With other subjects, use doesn’t (does
not).
Subject-Verb Agreement (2g)
 I don’t know.
 You don’t seem happy.
 Some people don’t care.
 He doesn’t drive.
 Donna doesn’t work.
 It doesn’t have one.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2h)
8.
A collective noun takes a singular
verb when the noun refers to the
group as a unit and takes a plural
verb when the noun refers to the
individual parts or members of the
group.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2h)
Singular
Plural
 The class has elected
 The class have
its officers. (class=a
unit)
completed their
projects on Romeo and
Juliet.
(class=individual
students)
Subject-Verb Agreement (2i)
9.
A verb agrees with its subject, not its
predicate nominative.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2i)
Singular
Plural
 The main attraction
 The marching bands
is the marching bands.
are the main
attraction.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2j)
10. A verb agrees with its subject even
when the verb precedes the subject,
as in sentences beginning with here
or there and in questions.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2j)
Singular
Plural
 Here is [or here’s] my
 Here are my
drawing of the
Cyclops.
 When in the program
does the skater
perform her triple
axel?
drawings of the
Cyclops.
 When in the program
do the fans start
clapping to the music?
Writing Tip
 Contractions such as here’s, there’s,
and where’s should be used only with
singular subjects.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2k)
11. An expression of an amount (a length
of time, a statistic or a fraction, for
example) is singular when the
amount is thought of as a unit or
when it refers to a singular word and
is plural when the amount is thought
of as many parts or when it refers to
a plural word.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2k)
Singular
Plural
 Twenty dollars is the
 Twenty dollars were
amount Della receives
for her hair.
 Three fourths of the
barrel is full.
stuck together.
 Three fourths of the
barrels have been
loaded.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2l)
12. The title of a creative work (such as a
book, song, film or painting) or the
name of an organization, a country,
or city (even if it is plural in form)
takes a singular verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2l)
 “Marigolds” is the story by Eugenia
W. Collier.
 Friends of the Earth was founded
in 1969.
 The Netherlands has thousands of
canals.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2m)
13. A few nouns, though plural in form,
take singular verbs.
Some nouns that end in –s take a
plural verb even though they refer to
a single item.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2m)
 The news of the nominee for the
Supreme Court was a surprise to many
observers.
 The scissors need to ne sharpened.
 Were these pants on sale?
Subject-Verb Agreement
14. The antecedent of a relative pronoun,
who, which, or that, determines its
agreement with a verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement
 Sam is the only one of the trainees who
has applied.
 Sam is the only qualified person of the
trainees who have applied.
9 Grammar
Agreement
SUBJECT AND VERB AGREEMENT
P R O N O U N A N D A N T E C E D EN T A G R E E M E N T *
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2n)
1.
A pronoun agrees with its antecedent
in number and gender.
 Singular
pronouns refer to singular
antecedents.
 A few personal pronouns indicate gender:
feminine, masculine, or neuter.
 Plural pronouns refer to plural antecedents.
 No plural pronouns indicate gender.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2n)
 Masculine: he, his, him, himself
 General Zaroff thinks that Rainsford has
escaped him. (singular, masculine)
 Feminine: she, her, hers, herself
 Juliet stabs herself. (singular, feminine)
 Neuter: it, it, its, itself
 After eating the lotus plant, the men did
not want to return to their homeland.
(plural)
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2o)
2.
A singular pronoun is used to refer to
anybody, anyone, anything, each,
either, everybody, everyone,
everything, neither, nobody, no one,
nothing, one, somebody, someone,
something.
 The
gender of the pronouns can sometimes
be determined by a word in a phrase
following the pronoun
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2o)
 Each of the boys held some pebbles in
his hand.
 Everyone on the girls’ tennis team
won her match.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
3.
When the antecedent could be either
masculine or feminine, use both the
masculine and the feminine pronoun
forms connected by or.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
 Everybody should choose his or her
friends carefully.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2p)
4.
A singular pronoun is used to refer to
two or more singular antecedents
joined by or or nor.
Use a plural personal pronoun if any
part of a compound antecedent
joined by or or nor is plural.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2p)
 Paula or Janet will present her
interpretation of Denise Levertov’s
“The Secret.”
 Neither Richard nor Bob has read
his report on Ray Bradbury.
 If my sisters or Carol arrives, ask
them to wait.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2p)
 An exception to this rule occurs when it
is necessary to distinguish between
individual and joint ownership.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2p)
 Neither Linda nor Monica let me ride
her horse. (Linda and Monica each
own a horse)
 Neither Linda nor Monica let me ride
their horse. (Linda and Monica own
the same horse)
Writing Tip
 If a sentence sounds awkward when the
antecedents are of different genders,
revise it.
 Either Ben or Maria will read his or
her report on O. Henry.
 Either Ben will read his report on O.
Henry, or Maria will read hers.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2q)
5.
A plural pronoun is used to refer to
two or more antecedents joined by
and.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2q)
 Romeo and Juliet marry despite the
feud between their families.
 Doodle and his brother spent much
time with each other; they became very
close.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2q)
 An exception to this rule occurs when it
is necessary to distinguish between
individual and joint ownership.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2q)
 My mother and father discovered
that his old desk is a valuable antique.
(Father owns the desk )
 My mother and father discovered
that their old desk is a valuable
antique. (Both parents own the desk )
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2r)
6.
The number of a relative pronoun
(such as who, whom, whose, which,
or that) depends on the number of its
antecedent.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2r)
 Aretha is one friend who always keeps
her word.
 Who
refers to the singular pronoun friend.
Therefore, the singular, her, is used to agree
with who.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2r)
 Many who volunteer find their
experiences rewarding.
 Who
refers to the plural pronoun many.
Therefore, the plural, their, is used to agree
with who.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors

A pronoun requires an antecedent
that is either clearly stated or clearly
understood.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Person and Gender
1.
When dealing with pronounantecedent agreement, take care not
to shift either person or gender.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors
 Kris is going to Hawaii, where you can
surf all year long. (shift in person)
 Kris is going to Hawaii, where he can
surf all year long. (correct)
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors
 The ship came loose from her
moorings, and it gently drifted out to
sea. (shift in gender)
 The ship came loose from its
moorings, and it gently drifted out to
sea.(correct)
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Vague Pronoun References
2.
The pronouns which, this, that, and
these should not be used to refer to a
vague or overly general idea.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Vague Pronoun References



Jay was carsick, the dog was restless, and
the air conditioner was broken. These
made our trip unpleasant. (vague pronoun
reference)
Jay was carsick, the dog was restless, and
the air conditioner was broken. These
misfortunes made our trip unpleasant.
(correction – replace with specific noun)
Jay’s carsickness, the dog’s restlessness,
and the air conditioner’s breakdown made
our trip unpleasant. (correction – revise
the sentence for clarity)
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Vague Pronoun References
3.
The pronouns it, they, and you
should not be used with vague
antecedents.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Vague Pronoun References



Marge is traveling abroad next year. It
should be very educational. (vague
pronoun reference)
Marge is traveling abroad next year. The
experience should be very
educational.(correction – replace with
specific noun)
Marge’s travels abroad next year should
be very educational. (correction – revise
the sentence for clarity)
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Vague Pronoun References



I enjoyed reading The Turn of the
Screw, but they never explained who
was guilty. (vague pronoun reference)
I enjoyed reading The Turn of the
Screw, but the author never explained
who was guilty. (correction – replace
with specific noun)
I enjoyed reading The Turn of the Screw
by Henry James, but he never explained
who was guilty. (correction – revise the
sentence for clarity)
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Vague Pronoun References

Use you only when the reference is
truly to the reader or listener.

You couldn’t understand a word Jim
said. (vague reference)
We couldn’t understand a word Jim
said. (correct)

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Vague Pronoun References

In the school my great-aunt
attended, you were expected to stand
up when addressed. (did you go to
school with this lady – nooo!)

In the school my great-aunt
attended, students were expected to
stand up when addressed. (correct)
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Ambiguous Pronoun References
4.

A pronoun should never refer to
more than one antecedent.
Careful writers make sure that a
pronoun’s antecedent is unmistakable.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Ambiguous Pronoun References

Joe asked Walt if he could leave
early. (ambiguous reference)

Joe asked Walt if Walt could leave
early. (correct)
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Ambiguous Repetition
5.
Do not repeat a personal pronoun in
a sentence if it can refer each time to
a different antecedent.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Ambiguous Repetition


When John asked his father if he
could borrow the car, he said he
needed it to go to work. (ambiguous
repetition)
When John asked his father if he
could borrow the car, John said he
needed it to go to work. (correct)
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Distant Pronoun References
6.
A personal pronoun should always be
close enough to its antecedent to
prevent confusion.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Common Errors – Distant Pronoun References



Molly shifted her weight from her injured leg.
Two days ago she had fallen, cutting herself on
the glass that littered the street. Now it was
swathed in bandages. (distant pronoun
reference)
Molly shifted her weight from her injured leg.
Now it was swathed in bandages. Two days ago
she had fallen, cutting herself on the glass that
littered the street. (correct)
Molly shifted her weight from her injured leg.
Two days ago she had fallen, cutting herself on
the glass that littered the street. Now her leg
was swathed in bandages. (correct)

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