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My English teacher says that the following is an "agreement" (which I assume means subject-verb agreement) error. He underlined the bolded parts of the sentence.

According to Political Research Associates, who used data gathered by the FBI, recorded hate crimes against Muslims increased by almost 1800% from 2000 to 2001 (Political Research Associates).

I've studied stuff online on subject verb agreements and cant find why this is an error. Could anyone help and maybe suggest a better sentence if this is wrong?

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    It's not an error. He might have been thinking that there should have been parallelism between according to and recorded, but these are not connected in this sentence, so there's no need for parallelism. The subject of the sentence is hate crimes, and the verb is increased, and he didn't underline either of these. Commented May 12, 2012 at 16:51
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    No teacher could have erred so. Either he was using a parsing software or the Q. is hypothetical.
    – Kris
    Commented May 12, 2012 at 18:16
  • What Peter/Kris said. If OP's teacher really had a problem with this sentence, he's in the wrong job. Commented May 12, 2012 at 23:43
  • @Kris I believe that someone who is rushing to correct papers could read "According to Political Research Associates, who used data gathered by the FBI, recorded hate crimes against Muslims..." and assume (wrongly) that there was an error without bothering to read the sentence through to the end. It's easy to make assumptions in these kind of situations. I've certainly done it. Commented May 13, 2012 at 18:34
  • @SigueSigueBen We humans "read" in a fuzzy-logic manner of scanning text. It takes a genius to bypass this acquired skill and 'pick nits', so to speak, by a linear scanning process, as a software algorithm does.
    – Kris
    Commented May 13, 2012 at 20:19

2 Answers 2

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I think the teacher thought there was an error because the sentence appears to have no subject.

Stripping out the unimportant parts, here is your sentence:

According to Political Research Associates, recorded hate crimes increased.

You can see that the sentence has a prepositional phrase According to PRA but no subject for the verb recorded -- except that recorded isn't actually the verb, it is part of the actual subject recorded hate crimes for the verb increased.

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    I had to reread it a couple of times to find the subject as well. It's grammatically correct, but adding "the number of" before "recorded hate crimes" would probably go a long way towards making your sentence more readable.
    – zpletan
    Commented May 12, 2012 at 17:04
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    @zpletan A hurried teacher scanning a pile of essays would get as far as recorded and stop thinking there was a missing subject. I agree, though, the sentence could be made a bit easier to parse. Commented May 12, 2012 at 17:37
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I see an error right away. To review:

According to Political Research Associates, who used data gathered by the FBI, recorded hate crimes against Muslims increased by almost 1800% from 2000 to 2001 (Political Research Associates).

Political Research Associates is a company or organization and not a person or persons, so the relative pronoun "who" does not "agree" with what it refers to. The sentence should be:

According to Political Research Associates, which used data gathered by the FBI, recorded hate crimes against Muslims increased by almost 1800% from 2000 to 2001 (Political Research Associates).

(If anyone wants to quibble and say that the company is made up of people and therefore "who" is correct, I'll just shake my head - and maybe suggest Googling hits for "company who" versus "company that" and "company which".)

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  • You're arguing with a lot of people, and would seem to be losing. See 'Who' or 'which' in reference to companies and duplicates. But like WS2, I believe 'who' is better in some contexts and 'which' in others here. // If I remember correctly, CGEL allows this usage. Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 16:39

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