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Thread: A variety of?

  1. #1
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    Jul 2006
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    A variety of?

    Greetings:
    I'm trying to figure out the correct verb for the following sentence:
    A variety of measures were taken to address the problem.
    The above sounds right to me, but what makes me uncertain is I'm wondering if "variety" is the subject, in which case the verb should be "were taken." Or does the phrase "A variety of" serve as an adjective in this case?
    Confused,
    E. Steiber
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  2. #2
    sheena55ro Guest

    Re: A variety of?

    Quote Originally Posted by esteiber
    Greetings:
    I'm trying to figure out the correct verb for the following sentence:
    A variety of measures were taken to address the problem.
    The above sounds right to me, but what makes me uncertain is I'm wondering if "variety" is the subject, in which case the verb should be "were taken." Or does the phrase "A variety of" serve as an adjective in this case?
    Confused,
    E. Steiber
    EMAIL REMOVED - Send PM to This User Instead
    Here is what I have found while searching the web :

    agreement by proximity.
    Certain grammatical constructions provide further complications. Sometimes the noun that is adjacent to the verb can exert more influence than the noun that is the grammatical subject. Selecting a verb in a sentence like A variety of styles has been/have been in vogue for the last year can be tricky. The traditional rules require has been, but the plural sense of the noun phrase presses for have been. While 59 percent of the Usage Panel insists on the singular verb in this sentence, 22 percent actually prefer the plural verb and another 19 percent say that either has or have is acceptable, meaning that 41 percent find the plural verb with a singular grammatical subject to be acceptable.

    Taking into consideration the traditional grammar rules I would choose a singular verb , although "a variety of" is attributively used, and "measures" should be considered the real subject of the sentence .Let me put it the other way: Measures of a large variety were taken....the verb is undoubtedly in the plural.

    I would like to see some experts` advice on this problem.

    Bye

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