I have a problem with this sentence's error identification.

Philanthropists such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are usually rich people who give away large numbers of money to improve things like health and education.

Numbers is obviously wrong, as money is uncountable, we have to use Amount instead, but I struggle with telling why Give away is correct, the subject is plural, but which one and how do you know? Is it philanthropists, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet or rich people?

  • Philanthropists are – J. Taylor Feb 6 '18 at 11:50

The subject of "give" is "who", and since "give" is understood as a present tense verb, it must have plural subject agreement -- with singular agreement we would get "who gives", instead. The subject "who" must agree in number with its verb "give", otherwise the agreement error would make the sentence sound peculiar, so "who" must be plural.

That is how I would reason about the example, and I believe this answers your question. I don't see how it helps to go into the relationship of "who" to "people", "philanthropists", "Warren Buffet", or "Bill Gates", because none of those is subject of "give".

  • Does who have variants by number? Does it "agree"? – Kris Dec 6 '18 at 11:54
  • @Kris, No, the singular and plural forms are pronounced the same way. Like "sheep". But verbs do agree appropriately. Consider "The sheep who stray/strays get/gets lost." – Greg Lee Dec 6 '18 at 15:33

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