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My English teacher says that the following is an "agreement" (which I assume means subject-verb agreement) error. He underlined the bolded parts of the sentence.

According to Political Research Associates, who used data gathered by the FBI, recorded hate crimes against Muslims increased by almost 1800% from 2000 to 2001 (Political Research Associates).

I've studied stuff online on subject verb agreements and cant find why this is an error. Could anyone help and maybe suggest a better sentence if this is wrong?

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It's not an error. He might have been thinking that there should have been parallelism between according to and recorded, but these are not connected in this sentence, so there's no need for parallelism. The subject of the sentence is hate crimes, and the verb is increased, and he didn't underline either of these. –  Peter Shor May 12 '12 at 16:51
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No teacher could have erred so. Either he was using a parsing software or the Q. is hypothetical. –  Kris May 12 '12 at 18:16
    
What Peter/Kris said. If OP's teacher really had a problem with this sentence, he's in the wrong job. –  FumbleFingers May 12 '12 at 23:43
    
@Kris I believe that someone who is rushing to correct papers could read "According to Political Research Associates, who used data gathered by the FBI, recorded hate crimes against Muslims..." and assume (wrongly) that there was an error without bothering to read the sentence through to the end. It's easy to make assumptions in these kind of situations. I've certainly done it. –  SigueSigueBen May 13 '12 at 18:34
    
@SigueSigueBen We humans "read" in a fuzzy-logic manner of scanning text. It takes a genius to bypass this acquired skill and 'pick nits', so to speak, by a linear scanning process, as a software algorithm does. –  Kris May 13 '12 at 20:19

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think the teacher thought there was an error because the sentence appears to have no subject.

Stripping out the unimportant parts, here is your sentence:

According to Political Research Associates, recorded hate crimes increased.

You can see that the sentence has a prepositional phrase According to PRA but no subject for the verb recorded -- except that recorded isn't actually the verb, it is part of the actual subject recorded hate crimes for the verb increased.

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I had to reread it a couple of times to find the subject as well. It's grammatically correct, but adding "the number of" before "recorded hate crimes" would probably go a long way towards making your sentence more readable. –  zpletan May 12 '12 at 17:04
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@zpletan A hurried teacher scanning a pile of essays would get as far as recorded and stop thinking there was a missing subject. I agree, though, the sentence could be made a bit easier to parse. –  SigueSigueBen May 12 '12 at 17:37

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