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Which is correct: "Somebody gets punished" or "Somebody get punished?" I have the same question with respect to "Someone gets" and "Someone get." Is there a rule which applies to this kind of sentences?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The third person singular conjugation (simple present tense) of "to get" is "gets". He/she/it "gets". "Somebody" is third person singular, so it's "somebody gets...". Similarly, it's "someone gets...".

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Thanks for your answer. Then I'm amazed so many people use 'get' instead of 'gets' (e.g. "There are few pleasures greater than watching somebody get yelled at") – Robert Smith Oct 31 '11 at 7:22
I believe "somebody get yelled at" is a noun clause for "watching". It answers "what is it a pleasure to watch?". Here 'get' is not the simple present. Compare "he plays ball" (simple present) to "I watch him play ball". – Codie CodeMonkey Oct 31 '11 at 7:56
@Robert Smith: In your example "somebody" (someone/John..) is indeed subject of "get" but it is also complement of "watch". If you replace someone with a personal pronoun you will say There are few pleasures greater than watching them / him get yelled at (and not "they" or "he"). The complement form prevails, agreement is with the subject, not with the complement. The rule is that when we use a verb after the verb watch, (& see, let, hear, help, make) the verb is not inflected (conjugated) and we must use the bare infinitive (-> without to). – Laure Oct 31 '11 at 9:37
Great, thanks both of you for your clarifications. – Robert Smith Oct 31 '11 at 14:02

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