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Növbəti dərsə keçid və ya cari dərsin davamı səhifənin aşağı hissəsindədir.

Dərs 40: 1/5 - Qrammatika dərsləri. (seçdiyiniz səviyyə: advanced)


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If a sentence has a singular subject it is followed by a singular verb, and if it has a plural subject it is followed by a plural verb; that is, the verb agrees ivith the subject. Compare:

  • She lives in China, and
  • More people live in Asia than in any other continent.

When the subject of the sentence is complex the following verb must agree with the main noun in the subject. In the examples below the subject is underlined and the main noun is circled. Notice how the verb, in italics, agrees with the main noun:

  • Many leading(friernbers)of the opposition party have criticised the delay.
  • The only(gxcus?)that he gave for his actions was that he was tired.

The verb must agree with the subject when the subject follows the verb :

  • Among the people invited was the mayor, (compare The mayor was among...)
  • Displayed on the board were the exam results, (compare The exam results were displayed...)

If the subject is a clause, we usually use a singular verb:

  1. To keep these voung people in prison is inhuman.
  2. Having overall responsibility for the course means that I have a lot of meetings.
  3. Whoever took them remains a mystery.
  4. That Rangers won both matches was a great achievement.

However, if we use a ivhat-chuse as subject , we use a singular verb if the following main noun is singular, and either a singular or a plural verb if the following main noun is plural (although a plural verb is preferred in more formal contexts):

  • What worries us is the poor selection process.
  • What is needed are additional resources, (or more colloquially ...needed is...)

Some nouns with a singular form, referring to groups of some kind, can be used with either a singular or plural form of the verb:

  • The council has (or have) postponed a decision on the new road.

We use a singular verb if the focus is on the institution or organisation as a whole unit, and a plural verb if the focus is on a collection of individuals. Often you can use either with very little difference in meaning, although in formal contexts (such as academic writing) it is more common to use a singular verb. Other words like this, sometimes called collective nouns, include army, association, audience, class, club, college, committee, community, company, ere crowd, department, electorate, enemy, family, generation, government, group, jury, opposition, orchestra, population, press, public, school, team, university, and the names of specific organisations such as the Bank of England, the BBC, IBM, Sony, the United Nations.
In some contexts a plural form of the verb is needed. We would say:

  • The committee usually raise their hands to vote 'Yes', (not The committee usually raises its hands...)

as this is something that the individuals do, not the committee as a whole. In others, a singular form is preferred. We would say:

  • The school is to close next year, (not The school are to close...) as we are talking about something which happens to the school as a building or institution, not to the individuals in the school.

When names and titles ending in -s refer to a single unit we use a singular verb. Examples include countries; newspapers; titles of books, films, etc.; and quoted plural words or phrases:

  • At this time of the year the Netherlands is one hour ahead of the UK.
  • The Los Angeles Times lists Derek Jones as the fifth richest man in the world.
  • The Machine Gunners was one of Robert Westall's most successful books.
  • 'Daps' is the word used in the south west of the country for sports shoes.

With any of, each of, either of, neither of, or none of and a plural noun/pronoun we
can use a singular or plural verb. However, we are more likely to use a singular verb in careful written English.

    1. I don't think any of them knows (or know) where the money is hidden.
    2. Neither of the French athletes has (or have) won this year.

With a/the majority of, a number of, a lot of, plenty of, all (of), or some (of) and a plural noun/pronoun we use a plural verb. But if we say the number of, we use a singular verb.

    1. A number of refugees have been turned back at the border.
    2. The number of books in the library has risen to over five million.

After one of and a plural noun/pronoun we use a singular verb. However, after one of plural noun/pronoun who we can often use either a singular or plural verb, although a plural verb is more grammatical.

    1. One of the reasons I took the job was that I could work from home.
    2. He's one of those teachers who insist/ insists on pupils sitting silently in class.

With any of, none of, the majority of, a lot of, plenty of, all (of), some (of) and an uncountable noun we use a singular verb.

    1. All the furniture was destroyed in the fire.
    2. None of the equipment appears to be damaged.

With every or each and a singular noun or co-ordinated noun (x and y) we use a singular verb. (For each of, see above.)

  • Every room looks over the harbour.
  • Every boy and girl takes part in the activity.
  • Each child has drawn a picture, hut
  • The children have each drawn a picture.

With everyone, everybody, everything (and similar words beginning any-, some- and no-) we use a singular verb.

  • Practically everyone thinks that Phil should be given the job.

When a subject has two or more items joined by and, we usually use a plural verb:

  • Jean and David are moving back to Australia.

However, phrases connected by and can also be followed by singular verbs if we think of them as making up a single item:

  • Meat pie and peas is Tom's favourite at the moment, (or ...are...)
  • The lorry, its cargo and passengers weighs around 35 tonnes, (or ...weigh...)

When a subject is made up of two or more items joined by (either)...or... or (neither)...nor... we use a singular verb if the last item is singular (although a plural verb is sometimes used in informal English), and a plural verb if the last item is plural:

  • Either the station or the cinema is a good place to meet, (or ...are... in informal English)
  • The President or his representatives are to attend the meeting.

If the last item is singular and previous item plural, we can use a singular or plural verb:

  • Either the teachers or the principal is to blame for the accident, (or ...are to blame...)

In there be/have we use a singular verb form with singular and uncountable nouns and a plural form with plural nouns. However, in informal speech we often use a shortened singular form of be or have (= There's) with plural nouns:

  • Over the last few years there have been many improvements in car safety.
  • There's been lots of good films on lately, (or There've been...)

We often do the same with how/here/where be/have:

  • How's your mum and dad these days? (or How are...)

Some nouns are usually plural and take a plural verb. These include belongings, clothes, congratulations, earnings, goods, outskirts, overheads, particulars (= information), premises (= building), riches, savings, stairs, surroundings, thanks. The noun whereabouts can be used with either a singular or a plural verb. The nouns police and people always take a plural verb, and the noun staff usually does:

  • The company's earnings have increased for the last five years.
  • Police believe that Thomas is in Brazil, although his exact whereabouts are/is unknown.
  • Staff say that the new computer system has led to greater levels of stress in their work.

Some nouns always end in -s and look as if they are plural, but when we use them as the subject they have a singular verb:

  • The news from the Middle East seems very encouraging.

Other words like this include means (= 'method' or 'money'); some academic disciplines, e.g. economics, linguistics, mathematics, phonetics, physics, politics, statistics; some sports, e.g. athletics, gymnastics; and some diseases, e.g. diabetes, measles, rabies. However, compare:

academic subject

general use

□ Politics is popular at this university.

□ Her politics are bordering on the fascist. (= political belief)

□ Statistics was always my worst subject.

□ Statistics are able to prove anything you want them to. (= numerical information)

□ Economics has only recently been recognised as a scientific study.

□ The economics behind their policies are unreasonable. (= the financial system)

Although the words data and media (= newspaper, television, etc.) are plural (with singular forms datum and medium), they are commonly used with a singular verb. However, in formal contexts such as academic writing a plural verb is preferred. Notice that other similar plurals such as criteria and phenomena (with singular forms criterion and phenomenon) are always used with plural verbs. Compare:

  • All the data is available for public inspection, (or ...are available...) and
  • I agree that the criteria are not of equal importance, (nor ...the criteria is not...)

With a phrase referring to a measurement, amount or quantity we usually prefer a singular verb:

  • Only three metres separates the runners in first and second places, (rather than ...separate...)
  • The fifty pounds he gave me was soon spent, {rather than ...were...) and a singular verb must be used when the complement is a singular noun phrase (e.g. a long time)
  • Three hours seems a long time to take on the homework, (not Three hours seem...)

After per cent (also percent or %) (of) we use a singular verb if the per cent phrase refers to a singular or uncountable noun and a plural verb if it refers to a plural noun. Compare:

  • An inflation rate of only 2 per cent makes a big difference to exports, and
  • I would say that about 50 per cent of the houses need major repairs.

However, where we use a singular noun that can be thought of as either a whole unit or a collection of individuals, we can use either a singular or plural verb:

  • Some 80 per cent of the electorate is expected to vote, (or ...are expected...)

In a compound consisting of noun noun, often the second noun gives the general class of things to which the compound belongs and the first noun indicates the type within this class. The first noun usually has a singular form:

  • an address book (= a book for addresses; not an addresses book)

However, there are a number of exceptions. These include -

  • when the first noun only has a plural form:
    a savings account      a customs officer      a clothes shop (compare a shoe shop)
    the arms trade (arms = weapons)      a glasses case (glasses = spectacles. Compare 'a glass case' = a case made of glass)      an arts festival (arts = music, drama, film, dance, painting, etc. Compare 'an art festival'; art = painting, drawing and sculpture)

  • when we refer to an institution (an industry, department, etc.), such as
    the building materials industry      the publications department
    which deals with more than one kind of item or activity (different types of building material, different forms of publication).

Notice that to make a compound noun plural we usually make the second noun plural:
coal mine(s)      officc-worker(s)      tea leaf/tea leaves

Sometimes a noun noun is not appropriate and instead we use noun -'s noun (possessive form) or noun preposition noun. In general, we prefer noun -'s noun -

  • when the first noun is the user (a person or animal) of the item in the second noun:
    a baby's bedroom      a lion's den      a women's clinic      a girls' school      birds' nests
  • when the item in the second noun is produced by the thing (often an animal) in the first:
    goat's cheese      duck's eggs      cow's milk
    (Note, however, lamb chops and chicken drumsticks (= the lower part of a chicken's leg))
  • when we talk about parts of people or animals; but we usually use noun noun to talk about parts of things. Compare:
    a woman's face      a boy's arm      but      a pen top      a computer keyboard

We prefer noun preposition noun -

  • when we talk about some kind of container together with its contents. Compare:
    a cup of tea (= a cup with tea in it)      and      a tea cup (= a cup for drinking tea from)
  • when the combination of nouns does not refer to a well-known class of items. Compare:
    income tax (a recognised class of tax)   and a tax on children's clothes (rather than 'a children's clothes tax')
  • in the phrases bird of prey   rule of thumb   Chief of Staff  commander-in-chief  sister-in-law Notice that we usually make a plural form of these phrases by making the first noun plural (e.g. birds of prey). However, we can say either sisters-in-law or sister-in-laws (and brothers-in-law or brother-in-laws, etc.).

Some compound nouns are made up of verbs and prepositions or adverbs, and may be related to a two- or three-word verb . Compare:

  • Mansen broke out of the prison by dressing as a woman. (= escaped) and
  • There was a major break-out from the prison last night. (= prisoners escaped)

Countable compound nouns like this have a plural form ending in -s:
read-out(s)      push-up(s)      intake(s)      outcome(s)

However, there are exceptions. For example:
looker(s)-on (or onlooker(s))      runner(s)-up      passer(s)-by      hanger(s)-on

We can form other kinds of hyphenated phrases that are placed before nouns to say more precisely what the noun refers to:
a state-of-the-art (= very modern) computer      day-to-day (= regular) control


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