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  1. The suspect, along with his two younger siblings, became the most notorious gangster in the district.
  2. The suspect, along with his two younger siblings, became the most notorious gangsters in the district.

I know that grammatically, it should be gangster and not gangsters because phrases such as “along with”, “together with” and “as well as” introduce a parenthetical phrase and do not modify the subject, but still I find this usage confusing. To me, the three brothers became notorious gangsters not just one.

Could anyone help provide more insight?

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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Switching the example to illustrate:

The suspect, just like his two younger siblings, became a notorious gangster.

Here, it is more obvious that the complement should be singular like the subject, and that the parenthesis, which gives additional information rather than changing the subject, shouldn't affect concord.

The suspect and his two younger siblings became notorious gangsters.

This time, we have an obvious plural subject.

The example you give falls somewhere between 'obvious singular subject with additional information inserted by a parenthetical' and 'obvious plural subject'. It has become standard to use grammar stressing the former here.

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