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  1. #11
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: singular or plural?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Sandwich View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Martin Hewings would disagree with your "rule". Perhaps the following extract may shed some more light on this matter:

    When a subject is made up of two or more items joined by (either)...or... or (neither)...nor... we use a singular verb if the last item is singular (although a plural verb is sometimes used in informal English), and a plural verb if the last item is plural:

    • Either the station or the cinema is a good place to meet, (or ...are... in informal English)
    • The President or his representatives are to attend the meeting.

    If the last item is singular and previous item plural, we can use a singular or plural verb:

    • Either the teachers or the principal is to blame for the accident. (or ...are to blame...)

    (Advanced Grammar in Use - Martin Hewings, p. 82)



    I think that most native speakers who use the "XYZ and me" or "Me and XYZ" construction would recognize that "XYZ and I" is also possible, if not more correct. It just so happens that the wrong construction is used by speakers, despite being ungrammatical. I think that those who'd say something like "Me and my buddy went to the pub" know that ths construction is ungrammatical. Why? Well, no native speaker would say "Me went to the pub".
    I have that book by Martin Hewings, but I can honestly tell you that Mr Hewings will even say THERE IS A TABLE AND A CHAIR is standard English. I have to say sorry because I can't give you further evidence, as since living at the university I haven't been able to get access to my grammar books and my house is on another island; another thing is I have to prepare for my examination so a long and detailed answer is not possible. As to the NEITHER part of English grammar, you can use whatever verb you like, because writers including Samuel Johnson would support my point with their usage in essays.

  2. #12
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: singular or plural?

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    I can honestly tell you that Mr Hewings will even say THERE IS A TABLE AND A CHAIR is standard English.
    I haven't a copy of Advanced Grammar in Use to hand, but I would be surprised if Hewings said that that was standard English.

  3. #13
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
    Chicken Sandwich is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: singular or plural?

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    I have that book by Martin Hewings, but I can honestly tell you that Mr Hewings will even say THERE IS A TABLE AND A CHAIR is standard English.
    Now I'm really confused! What's wrong with 'There is a table and a chair in the kitchen'? The verb agrees with its nearest complement, so why is this sentence problematic?

    there is / there are

    In your example of there is, Tanya, it is as if the items are being counted separately:
    There’s a chair and there’s a table in the room SO there’s a chair and table in the room.

    But note:
    There are three chairs and a table in the room.
    There’s a table and three chairs in the room.

    Learning English | BBC World Service
    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    As to the NEITHER part of English grammar, you can use whatever verb you like, because writers including Samuel Johnson would support my point with their usage in essays.
    I'm not sure if I follow you here. Did you mean to say "... but writers including..."?

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