I understand that with words that indicate portions e.g. a lot, a majority, some, all, etc, I need to look at the noun after 'of' to decide if the verb is singular or plural. If the noun after 'of' is singular, I should use a singular verb. If it is plural, I should use a plural verb. For example:

All of the pie is gone. All of the pies are gone.

But what about the following statement:

Each of the children ____ (be) given a balloon on Children's Day.

Should the answer be 'is' or 'are'? Does the same rule apply? Thanks.


The rules suggest that there be an "is" in your sentence. Since the subject is "each" and not "children". "Each" is a singular in itself.

  • But if you said 'All of the children' it would take the plural verb 'are'. – WS2 Jan 8 '15 at 11:02
  • Yes exactly. That's one of the ways to avoid the is/are confusion. – Komal Jan 8 '15 at 17:26

I agree with Komal Jain.

"The children" only serves as being the object of the preposition "of" in that sentence. It does not function as the subject.

The prepositional phrase "of the children" modifies the pronoun "each". Also, "each of the children" is a noun/nominal phrase, where "each" is the head of the phrase; thus, "each" is the real subject.

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