Is this correct?

Even though the subject/verb is never part of a prepositional phrase, the object of the preposition influences the verb?

Example Some of the houses were red Some of the house was red.

  • 1
    The PP modifies the implied head of the subject 'fused' with some--some [plural count] of the houses v some [singular part] of the house--and the verb must agree with the subject. Feb 5, 2017 at 22:37
  • 1
    'Some of' etc are probably best regarded as partitives. See the Wikipedia article. 'Some of' may refer to count or non-count situations, with verb agreement corresponding. Compare 'Three of the houses were red / Half of the house was red'. Feb 5, 2017 at 23:45
  • A lot of people *misanalyzes these. If you are a native speaker you know the right answer without needing a conscious rule. Are you one, or are you learning English as a second language?
    – tchrist
    Feb 6, 2017 at 0:10

1 Answer 1


No. At least, not directly.

The prepositional phrase is an optional part of the sentence. The noun and verb should always agree, and the preposition does not affect that. You should be able to completely remove a prepositional phrase and have the sentence remain fine, at least grammatically.

What the object of a preposition does affect is the noun/pronoun.

Your example is tricky, because "some" is a pronoun that can be singular or plural. If you use "many" and "much" instead, you would have "Many of the houses were red," and "Much of the house was red."

"Many were red" works, "Much were red" does not.
"Many was red" is painfully incorrect, but "Much was red" is correct.

Choose the correct pronoun based on the object of the preposition. Then, choose the verb based on the pronoun–whether it's singular, or plural.

  • 2
    I find a number of problems with this answer, not least the "No, but yes" first sentence. The noun and verb should agree in number, and nothing affects that, including prepositions or their objects, but as the example shows, the object of the preposition can affect the interpretation of the subject. Removing this prepositional phrase affects the semantics but leaves a grammatically correct sentence. This isn't always true. Consider it was of a piece. Your observation about many and much doesn't address the question.
    – deadrat
    Feb 5, 2017 at 23:26

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