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43

This particular it is a Dummy Subject pronoun, Distance it; the construction requires a locative of some sort and estimates the extent of some stretch of (perhaps metaphorical) landscape. It's 31 miles as the crow flies from Bellingham to Mt. Baker. It's a long way to Tipperary. It's just corn out there, as far as the eye can see. In the quoted sentence ...


29

No, oddly enough, barracks is a singular as well as a plural. Barrack exists, but only in barrack block, one constituent of a barracks, or metaphorical contexts such as 'a gloomy barrack of a place'. And many computer games allow you to put a Barracks (and, e.g. a Temple) in each of your cities: I would think "Your Barracks are finished" would mean you ...


26

It depends on whether two-thirds (or any similar proportion) is regarded as a measure of amount or of number. In (1), the emphasis is likely to be on the amount of pizza eaten, and not on the number of individual thirds, so (b) would be appropriate. In contrast, in (2) the emphasis is on the number of visitors who were men, so plural concord, as in (a), is ...


24

Those is plural, yes, but "flags" grammatically agrees with "one" in this case. The sentence is something like this: Stack Overflow, due to its size, has some unique problems. One {of those [problems]} is flags. The part between [-] can be omitted to avoid repetition. The part between {-} can be omitted to explain the agreement. So it could become: ...


23

In British English, one can say "our staff do", because they use plural verbal agreement to emphasize when an entity is made up of a group of people, whether this entity itself is marked as plural or not. This is also true of companies, bands, sports teams and other things which are commonly used in plural forms as well as singular forms. The verbs are ...


23

In formal usage, it should definitely be is: Neither of these options is available. This is the traditional rule (iirc, Fowler’s discusses this at length). However, in colloquial usage, either option is fine, and are seems to now be somewhat more common, at least on teh internets. A commenter here nicely describes the sort of thought process which ...


22

The intentional misuse of don't is a form of code switching (or code mixing). The form is extremely characteristic of working-class southeastern Americans ("southerners"), who are also the primary audience for American country music. What is most interesting about the song is that Shania Twain is Canadian — and that is where the code switching begins. ...


21

This question is more complex than it may appear. There seems to be consensus that a singular verb should be used in formal writing whenever the subject of a sentence is more than one [noun], or at least that this is (much) better than ?there are more than one. I subscribe to this. It does not matter how many things the writer might expect there to be in ...


20

(B) is perfectly correct in either American or British English. Take a look at this example from the Cambridge Dictionaries Online: A total of 21 horses were entered for the race. (C) is also correct, as ten babies is explicitly plural, and should thus take the plural are. (A) is not correct because the collective noun total should always be treated ...


19

"I was always delighted when my brother or one of my sisters was/were asked to do them." The rule in English for when you have disjunction in a compound subject (meaning two of more separate subjects connected by an “or”, or by a “either ... or”, or by an “neither ... nor”), is that the verb agrees with the nearer subject — or nearest, if there are more ...


18

Neither Michael nor Albert is correct — this is the correct version per prescriptive rules. Based on my understanding of grammar lessons, When connecting singular nouns, use a singular verb: Neither Jacob nor Jane is coming to the party. When connecting plural nouns, use a plural verb: Neither the Jones nor the Smiths are coming to the party. ...


18

I thought I'd add something to what has already been said in @PLL's answer. Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, which I like for its descriptive style and useful examples, has this to say about neither: The reason it is sometimes plural is easy to see when you think about it. Neither serves as the negative counterpart of either, which is ...


18

"What is wrong with XYZ?" is valid regardless of whether XYZ is one thing or many, and whether the questioner expects an answer detailing one fault or many. If the questioner wanted to explicitly indicate that he expects an answer listing multiple faults, he'd have to say something like "What things are wrong with XYZ?". "What are wrong with XYZ?" is never ...


17

1.) Which one is you? 2.) Which one are you? Which is correct? * Both are "correct". They just have different subjects. . LONG ANSWER VERSION: Let's identify the subject of each interrogative clause, by using the verb's number as the indicator: 1.a) Which one is you? 2.a) Which one are you? Notice that there is formal subject-verb ...


16

They are both correct: they elide the beginnings of different responses. What does the door do? [What the door does is] close. What does the door do? [The door] closes. If you look at the verb be, you find that the former phrasing seems to be more productive and natural, if not necessarily more correct. Using the infinitive mirrors the structure ...


15

The use of don't instead of doesn't is an error in standard English, of the sort you were probably taught. However, this sort of error is characteristic of many non-standard, rustic dialects, and country music of the sort that Shania Twain sings is known for using these dialectical features as part of the conceit of being rural, Western [1], and ...


14

People here are telling you that "there are" is right. In terms of any kind of Standard English, that is 100% true. When expletive-there + copula is used in the subject position, the copula verb is supposed to agree with the noun phrase to the right. However, I suspect you are interested in also knowing if there is any significance to your intuition that ...


14

"The number" is singular. "A number", however, is plural, and takes a plural verb. Thus, for both informal and formal usage, the following is correct: A number of questions have been asked here. See the usage note not quite halfway down the page at Dictionary.com, or this daily writing tip.


14

The United States of America own this domain To me this sounds a little bit awkward, as the United States of America is one entity. Actually, it's likely because the pluralism is buried in the middle of the term. If you were to use simply The United States... I would accept either own or owns, depending on what you're trying to emphasize: the ...


14

There is no general agreement on whether or not the phrase "one or more" should be taken to be singular or plural. The Cambridge Guide to English Usage says: For most writers the choice depends on whether you’re thinking of a single case or general principle. Usage commentators in the UK and the US have been inclined to say it should be plural; and the ...


13

Your grammar checker corrected you because "either" does technically function with a singular verb. If you think about your question slightly expanded it would be "is either one of you free?". However, leaving technical correctness aside, I think conventional usage allows for your question in both forms, and I would ignore your grammar checker if I were ...


13

The two sentences mean slightly different things. In the first case, it is understood that you don't intend to continue attending school. If I did not have to leave, I would have attended school for 5 years at the end of the year. In the second case, you express the belief or the confidence that you will still be in school at the end of the year. ...


13

Formal agreement requires weren’t. That’s because the subject of the sentence is the plural years, premodified by my last couple of. However, in terms of notional agreement, My last couple of years can be seen as an integrated whole that calls for a singular verb. Which you choose depends partly on your own view of the relative merits of formal and notional ...


12

Sometimes I write "Is there any ..." and sometimes I write "Are there any", and I guess that one of them is wrong. Is there any good rule of thumb for this? Yes, the rule of thumb is "use 'is' for singular and 'are' for plural". Singular: Is there any caffeine in decaffeinated coffee? Plural: Are there any words that rhyme with ...


12

Both "USA" and "The United States of America" are a single proper noun. They are names. I don't believe you can point to a word within a name to call the name a plural. Both names refer to a single entity. They should be followed by the singular form. The exception is in some British English where singular nouns representing collectives (companies, teams, ...


12

Generally, when you are referring to a single thing, one uses 'is'; when referring to a plural, you should use 'are'. It applies here too, you just need to think about it. There are more than one species 'One species' is actually singular: 'species' is both the singular and the plural form of the word, the nature of the sentence dictating which it is ...


11

It's hard to conceive of a situation in which apples and oranges could be wrong, but let's suppose there is. Assuming you really mean apples (plural) and orange (singular), the first construction is correct. My apples and orange are wrong. You are speaking of multiple things, and even if both were singular My apple and orange are wrong. the ...


11

"Barracks" can be either singular or plural. Plural in the context of "one barrack, two barracks," etc. But "barracks" could also refer to a COMPLEX of military installations. In that case, "your barracks is finished," means "your military complex is finished," singular. Yes, it's "computergamese."


11

The are applies to liars, not to nothing here. Did you notice that you have but in both your examples? Nothing but as a phrase is used here in an idiomatic sense. We can reread the sentences as: There are only liars in here. They are just petty thieves. That's how it is, I believe.


10

these and those are determiners that select for a plural count (and can be compared to this and that). Note, there are some determiners which don't have to agree with the count of their noun (e.g. the). *I don't like these kind of things. I don't like this kind of thing. I don't like these kinds of things. The first is ungrammatical, the ...



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