The explanation of how to decide when to use a singular verb versus a plural verb with the term couple seems so simple when I read it, but so tricky when I try to apply it.
Would you please tell me if I have the following sentences correctly or not?
The couple are having marital problems. There are accusations and counter accusatioins. Lack of English skills is preventing them from getting jobs which pay sufficiently to cover housing and other costs.
I think a case could be made for both the singular as well as the plural verbs, but I lean toward the plural.
Lack of English skills is preventing them from getting jobs
Lean towards a plural verb here, and (English) skills becomes the subject and and so "English skills are preventing them from getting jobs."
CLOSE DOWN THIS FORUM!
'lack' is the subject, hence, singular verb.
decide whether you are referring to a single unit, or two people, and the verb is singular or plural accordingly:
Each couple was asked to bring a plate to the party.
(In a dance competition): The couple is/has been disqualified.
The winning couple has one week to collect the prize.
Otherwise, plural verb.
Seems straightforward till we hit:
The couple is buying a house. It seems forced and odd-sounding; and I would defy that authority and write, "The couple are buying (their first home)."
Last edited by David L.; 14-Jul-2009 at 07:44.