However if the two subjects are joined with or or nor

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However, if the two subjects are joined with oror nor, we have a decision to make. Since we actually have two subjects to look at, we could have several variations: Singular …. Plural Plural …. Singular Singular …. Singular Plural …. Plural Because of the confusion, we have a special rule. This section of subject-verb agreement is critical. This is a rule you will have to memorize. subject 1 subject 2 Example: Neither the customers nor the manager was aware of the storm. The two parts of the subject are customers(plural) and manager(singular). You choose the subject closer to the verb. Since the verb is was, you look only at the subject manager (since it is closer). Since manager is singular, you must choose a singular verb to agree with it. Remember that all singular verbs end in s. If we switch the order of the subjects, you must evaluate the sentence differently. subject 1 subject 2Example: Neither the manager nor the customerswere aware of the storm. The two parts of the subject are still customersand manager, but in this example managercomes first and customerscomes closer to the verb. Since customersis plural, you must use a plural verb. Here’s another example: We were all surprised that Mary Ellen or her sisters were responsible for providing the food. The two parts of the subject are Mary Ellenand sisters. Since sistersis closer to the verb were, you let that part of the subject determine the verb. Since sistersis plural, you must have a plural verb. Remember that all singular verbs end in s; for a plural verb, you must choose the verb form that does NOT end in s. Compound Subjects Joined by Or/Nor Rule:When you have a compound subject whose parts are joined by oror nor, the subject closer to the verb determines its number.
Copyright © 2015 by Sharon Serrago, Inc Page 152 1. Neither the mechanic nor his workers (was, were) able to get the car running again. 2. Neither the manager nor the employee handling all the outstanding accounts (has, have) been successful in reconciling the financials. 3. We tried to tell the teacher that either Bob or his three friends taking the same class (was, were) responsible for the broken desk. 4. None of the witnesses could tell whether the man driving the blue car or the ladies in the red suburban (was, were) guilty of running the light. 5. Nothing in the report indicates that either the ladies from the office or the men from the health club (is, are) in line for a promotion. 6. Either Samson or his opposing candidate in the elections (speak, speaks) tonight. 7. Every time the teacher enters that classroom, either Bob or one of the other students (erase, erases) the board. 8. Neither Jerry nor his parents (is, are) willing to accept responsibility for the broken window. 9. The woman knew that either the brakes or the steering column of her car (was, were) broken.

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