Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 28
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 202
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #11

    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.
    I feel that is categorically wrong. We cannot blandly say that the verb must always agree with the latter subject. That's far too simplistic and can ignore the reality of what the choice actually is.

    Let's take a situation: A joint of meat has disappeared from the table. Suspicion automatically rests with the pets, of which there are three cats and a dog. What shall we say? (If we want to put the cats first and the dog second.)

    Correctly: "Either the cats or the dog are in trouble". Don't focus on just the dog. Consider the whole choice - several animals, of which one or many could be in trouble.

    If you really want to use a singular verb here, you'll have say "Either the cats are in trouble or the dog is".

    In the negative:

    "The meat is still in the oven. Neither the cats nor the dog are in trouble."

    Other examples:

    "Neither the workers nor the manager know what to do." (not 'knows')
    "Either my feet or my heart rule my head." (not 'rules')

    I would repeat the simple mantra, to which I know there may be exceptions: If both subjects of either...or/neither...nor are 3rd person singular, the verb is singular. Otherwise the verb is plural. Why be confused?

    There is a better way to deal with this, which is to express ourselves differently. Completely reconstruct the sentence or just put the plural noun next to the verb and thereby keep everybody happy!

    Possibly neither side is wrong here, if this is yet another another trans-Atlantic divide?

  1. Soup's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,892
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #12

    Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    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."
    The above example sentences are correct (you have used the rule correctly), but they differ from your original example. In those examples, the rule is as follows: Click on Neither/Nor

    As for your original example, the syntax differs. Neither is your subject. If, however, you want to make a sentence that has plural fruit(s) as the subject, then try this:


    • Neither the dairy nor the fruit(s) are ready to ship.


    BUT you'd better tell your readers that you are using fruit as a plural noun, otherwise they will assume that you got the verb wrong. You see, most people (irrespective of what a dictionary has to say) do not consider the noun fruit plural. To them it is singular.

    ______________
    I ate all the cookies and all the fruit. Sorry, there's nothing more to digest.

  2. Soup's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,892
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #13

    Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    Possibly neither side is wrong here, if this is yet another another trans-Atlantic divide?
    Not at all. Your contribution is meaningful. Allow me to offer support:


    When singular subjects are connected with neither...nor, the verb is usually and more acceptably singular, but is sometimes plural: "Neither cat nor dog is/are allowed." Again, this is because neither...nor is a negative counterpart to either...or, which is singular, and is also a negative counterpart to both...and, which is plural. But if both subjects are plural, the verb is plural: "Neither cats nor dogs are allowed." If there is a singular and a plural subject, it is most acceptable to put the plural subject second and have the verb agree with the nearest (plural) subject. Even if the plural subject is placed first, before the singular subject, it is common to use a plural verb.


    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 202
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #14

    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.
    To my mind, 'neither' is not the subject. But then, I'm not a grammar technician.
    Last edited by The Dude; 19-Mar-2011 at 18:29.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 202
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #15

    Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    If there is a singular and a plural subject, it is most acceptable to put the plural subject second and have the verb agree with the nearest (plural) subject. Even if the plural subject is placed first, before the singular subject, it is common to use a plural verb.
    Sounds good to me, so why change it? :-

    With respect to Bill Bryson, I don't agree with him.
    Last edited by The Dude; 19-Mar-2011 at 18:34.

  3. Soup's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,892
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #16

    Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    Sounds good to me, so why change it? :-
    I believe the rules/patterns cited (in the Random House source) are based on a descriptive account (how people use the language), not on a prescriptive account (how people are expected to use the language; i.e., Billy B). As for me, I walk a fuzzy line. Either way, we have all the goods now and the PO should be happy with our finds. That's the point of all this, right?

    Peace.

  4. Soup's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,892
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #17

    Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    To my mind, 'neither' is not the subject. But then, I'm not a grammar technician.
    You don't have to be a person interested in how language works to get the meanings here:


    • Neither has been eaten yet.


    • All have not been eaten yet.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 202
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #18

    Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Having now looked at Mavens' Word of the Day, I can congratulate Carol for recognising that the plural verb follows 'neither...nor' when the first choice is plural and the second is singular.

    However I absolutely condemn her for recommending that 'neither' can be used for more choices than two. The example she gives is ridiculous. It's small wonder that students are confused when they are taught correctly but then encounter this sort of misinformation.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Ukrainian
      • Home Country:
      • Ukraine
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Sep 2010
    • Posts: 3,437
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #19

    Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    Sounds good to me, so why change it? :-

    With respect to Bill Bryson, I don't agree with him.
    Who would be Bill Bryson?

  5. Soup's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,892
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #20

    Re: all of the fruit pl or sng verb

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    Who would be Bill Bryson?
    Go back to Post #12 and click on the Neither/Nor link.

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Name of this Fruit?
    By Ducklet Cat in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 17-Feb-2011, 21:15
  2. A verb for fruit juice...
    By Mehrgan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 05-Dec-2010, 21:20
  3. Fruit/a fruit/the fruit
    By IlmatawTam in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-Dec-2009, 17:13
  4. the fruit looking ugly in his fruit stand
    By joham in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-Jan-2008, 12:34
  5. "fruit" as a verb
    By notmyname216 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 17-Sep-2005, 12:54

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •