Are You Singular?

Sometimes using singular verbs sounds wrong, but we’re back to the rules again. When you use a singular noun, your verb needs to be singular. Take a look at the correct sentences and see whether you would have written them correctly.

  • “My favorite type of movie is thrillers,” but “Thrillers are my favorite type of movie.”
  • “Neither is correct.” (And, just as in rule number 1, the presence of a modifier is irrelevant: “Neither of them is correct.”)
  • “The pot of eggs is boiling on the stove.”
  • “Either the dog or the cats are responsible for the mess.” (“Either the cats or the dog is responsible for the mess” is also technically correct but is awkward.)
  • “His staff is assembled,” but “Staff are asked to go to the conference room immediately.” (In the first sentence, the emphasis is on the body of employees; in the second sentence, the focus is on compliance by each individual in the body of employees.)
  • “The United Nations is headquartered in New York.”
  • “The economics of the situation are complicated,” but “Economics is a complicated topic.”
  • “I am one of those eccentrics who do not tweet.” (The verb goes with the noun: eccentrics. Think “those who do not tweet”)
  • “I am the only one of my friends who does not tweet.” (think “one who does not tweet”)
  • “The number of people here boggles the mind.” (number is singular)

Clearly, there is no singular rule about singularity. Alas.

One Response to “Are You Singular?”

  1. A. G, October 11, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    In the words of Thor, “SAYETH WHAT?!?!” (How It Should Have Ended).

    Anyways, I got it!!

    Thank you!!Danke schön!! Gracias!! Merci!!

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