3

In the sentence below, should the bolded word be prepare or prepares?

When my family eats at home, my mom or I prepares the meal.

Normally, I would side with the verb agreeing with its corresponding noun in the sentence. However, since this is an exclusive or, where it's either my mom or I doing the preparation, that means that it would be my mom prepares or I prepare.

I'd like to avoid writing it like the sentence below, as it just sounds a bit awkward.

When my family eats at home, one of either my mom or me prepares the meal.

I was unable to find any existing questions that covered my scenario exactly. Most deal with (person) and I or the order of the two verbs in the sentence.

How can I write this using the my mom or I syntax?

2

The bolded word should be prepare.

When my family eats at home, my mom or I prepare the meal.

The rule is: If a compound subject contains or or nor, the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is nearer the verb.

  • 1
    Can you cite a reference that supports this rule? – sumelic Dec 2 '16 at 9:52
  • There are many grammar references out there; here's one: grammarbook.com/grammar/subjectVerbAgree.asp – andi Dec 3 '16 at 18:58
  • I think it might be useful to give a caveat, as that source does: "This rule can lead to bumps in the road. For example, if I is one of two (or more) subjects, it could lead to this odd sentence: Awkward: Neither she, my friends, nor I am going to the festival. If possible, it's best to reword such grammatically correct but awkward sentences." – sumelic Dec 3 '16 at 19:00
  • eh, I don't think that sentence is so awkward, depending on where it's used. But I didn't want to get into personal preference and style here; I just wanted to give the actual rule. – andi Dec 3 '16 at 19:02
-1

Interesting. I think I would get round it by writing "my mom prepares the meal or I do".

-3

"When my family eats at home, either my mom or I prepares the meal." The prepare is correct, add either instead.

  • 3
    But then you have "I prepares," which looks like an incorrect verb agreement with "I". – sumelic Dec 1 '16 at 23:11
  • Instead of 'I prepares', it should look like 'either my mom or I" and 'prepares the meal' – DdTnT Dec 1 '16 at 23:23

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