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  1. #1
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    "Neither all of the cookies nor all of the fruit have been eaten yet." I was told that here the fruit is singular not plural and it's incorrect to say "have been"?

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    The Dude is offline Member
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    Default Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Of course it's plural. The verb is working for all of the cookies AND all of the fruit.

    The verb can be singular only if both of the items are singular. As soon as one of them is plural then the verb becomes plural.

    Neither the pen nor the pencil is mine;
    Neither the glasses nor the hat are mine.

  3. #3
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    Of course it's plural. The verb is working for all of the cookies AND all of the fruit.

    The verb can be singular only if both of the items are singular. As soon as one of them is plural then the verb becomes plural.

    Neither the pen nor the pencil is mine;
    Neither the glasses nor the hat are mine.
    "When neither and nor are used to join two subjects, the verb should agree with the subject that is closer to it. ▪ Neither my father nor I am going to the meeting"


    Neither the glasses nor the hat is mine.?

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    The Dude is offline Member
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    Default Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Sorry, I should have explained more fully: not only do the nouns have to be singular, they also have to be in the third person for the verb to be singular.

    'Neither my father nor I are going to the meeting.'
    'Neither A nor B is the right answer.'

    Definitely it is not the case that the verb agrees only with the closer noun.

    This is one of those areas of grammar that become more complicated the more you dig into them. The simple rule that I've outlined inevitably has its exceptions, but if you follow it you should stay out of prison.

    In conversation, there's no time to stop and think this over, so a simple rule learnt is a great help. In marginal cases, either way will be acceptable, even if not strictly correct.

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    I have to disagree here.

    With an or, you make the verb agree with the latter subject.

    The dog or the cats are...
    The cats or the dog is...

    I would apply the same rule to Neither the cookies nor the fruit is... or Neither the fruit nor the cookies are...
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I have to disagree here.

    With an or, you make the verb agree with the latter subject.

    The dog or the cats are...
    The cats or the dog is...

    I would apply the same rule to Neither the cookies nor the fruit is... or Neither the fruit nor the cookies are...
    I guess in my example all of the fruit is the plural?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    "Neither all of the cookies nor all of the fruit have been eaten yet." I was told that here the fruit is singular not plural and it's incorrect to say "have been"?
    Psst, the verb should be singular has since its subject is singular Neither:


    • Neither (A nor B) has been eaten yet.

  8. #8
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Psst, the verb should be singular has since its subject is singular Neither:


    • Neither (A nor B) has been eaten yet.
    1)Fruit can be plural. Suppose I was not refering to one fruit but all of the fruit that were in the basket? Here is the defenition from the Cambridge dictionary "fruit plural fruit or fruits".

    2)What about the Dude's post? If I have like this"neither +plural nor+singular=VERB plural?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    1)Fruit can be plural. Suppose I was not refe[r]ring to one fruit but all of the fruit that were in the basket?
    It doesn't matter. The subject is Neither, not cookies, not fruit (singular or plural). Take away singular Neither and the subject becomes plural All:

    • All (of the cookies and all of the fruit) have not been eaten yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    2)What about the Dude's post? If I have like this"neither +plural nor+singular=VERB plural?
    The Dude's post confuses me, sorry. All I can add is this: Neither is singular; All is plural. Put the two together (Neither all) and you can see why some people choose Neither has, others choose all have, and yet others do what's best; they rewrite the sentence so that it means what it's intended to mean.

  10. #10
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    It doesn't matter. The subject is Neither, not cookies, not fruit (singular or plural). Take away singular Neither and the subject becomes plural All:

    • All (of the cookies and all of the fruit) have not been eaten yet.


    The Dude's post confuses me, sorry. All I can add is this: Neither is singular; All is plural. Put the two together (Neither all) and you can see why some people choose Neither has, others choose all have, and yet others do what's best; they rewrite the sentence so that it means what it's intended to mean.
    So if I have at least one NP that is plural in the neither nor sentence I can follow it up with a plural or a singular verb depending on which one is closer to the end?

    1) Neither the president nor the members of the cabinet were informed.

    2) Neither the members of the cabinet nor the president was informed.

    Judging from these two sentences the subjects are the preident and the members of the cabinet correspondingly. Therefore if fruit is the plural than my original sentence would be correct? "Neither all of the cookies nor all of the fruit have been eaten yet."
    Last edited by ostap77; 19-Mar-2011 at 16:33.

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