On Notional Agreement, the Majority Speak

Most English speakers know the basic rule of subject-verb unity: a singular noun follows a singular verb, and a plural noun follows the corresponding plural of It.

Students are in the cafeteria.

The students are in the cafeteria.

This is frankly: To be is the third person singular conjugation of the verb Okay that agree with the student; To be is the third person plural division of Okay agree with plural subject student.

The same rule applies when the construction is reversed:

There is a student in the cafe.

There are students in the cafeteria.

But there are times when determining what counts as “agreement” is unclear, because what sounds like a singular noun is actually plural, or what sounds like a plural noun about basically singular. This concept is called nominal agreementalso called remarkable harmony or synthesis.

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“A crowd of revelers approached.” Or is it?

Simply put, nominal agreement occurs when the agreement between the subject and its verb (or, in some cases, the pronoun and its antecedent) is determined by meaning rather than form. .

For example, when you have a compound or plural subject that acts as a singular unit, it sometimes sounds more “natural” when the subject takes a singular verb, regardless of the main rules. opposite wake.

For example, this would apply to nouns that are often combined and presented together:

There’s leftover macaroni and cheese in the fridge.

Athletics is her favorite sport.

And with the amount represented abstractly as the number of units:

Ten dollars is the cost of admission.

Is five miles too far to walk?

Two plus three is five.

It also works for nouns that are spelled in the plural but represent something singular. This is especially common in the case of nouns referring to fields of study, like politics, citizenor Economics:

Politics is best not discussed at the dinner table.

Economics simply determines how much something costs.

In addition, you will often see instances where a plural verb is used with a singular noun, which, by its meaning and context, suggests a plural. Such nouns include pair, triangle, crowd, family, crew, crowd, generationAnd Committee. You might see a sentence like “The couple was seen leaving in a gray car” or “The crew is preparing for the launch”, where the singular subject nouns are usually (pair And crew) is paired with a plural verb (used to).

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Finally, context comes into play, with sentences often providing some sort of information that emphasizes the plural nature of singular nouns technically. By “The couple is seen leaving in a gray car”, one can intuit that the two have been seen; similarly, “The crew is preparing for the premiere” is reminiscent of many people working together, suggesting the plural, and it is this concept that makes the speaker prefer plural verbs.

More common are constructs that “omit” a singular noun from its plural members (as in the “a [collective noun] belong to [member nouns]). With these topics, speakers and writers will often choose to express verbs in the plural:

The majority of voters supported the amendment.

There are some good reasons for us to go.

A committee of volunteers was selected.

In addition to nominal agreement, there is a second principle at play here that makes the use of plural verbs sound more “correct” than singular verbs, and that is what is called asymptotic principle. That means, for example, in a structure like “a crowd of revelers”, one might be inclined to choose a verb form that matches the plural noun closer to the verb in the sentence (players) rather than a further singular noun (crowd):

A crowd of revelers is approaching.

Nominal agreement is something we often don’t pay attention to because it’s almost instinctive, part of our normal talking habits. And it’s not an established rule in its own right, but a matter of preference, and it’s more common in British English than in American English. If you like to say “a crowd of revelers is approaching”, you won’t be wrong.

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Categories: Usage Notes
Source: vothisaucamau.edu.vn

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