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  1. hector51's Avatar

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    #1

    Singular or plural?

    "He is one of the students who works/work hard for the exams"

    the answer is "works" ,but I think it should be plural here,since "who" refers to "students" (plural noun),am I correct?looking forward to hearing from you and thanks in advance!


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    #2

    Re: Singular or plural?

    He is one of the students who works hard for the exams"

    of the students is a prep phrase and modifies the singular pronoun which is the antecedent of the relative pronoun: who.


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    #3

    Re: Singular or plural?

    He is one of the students who work hard for the exams"

    another interpretation:

    the relative clause is a nominal apposition for students
    Nothwithstanding this, the singular form is accepted in formal register.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Singular or plural?

    Quote Originally Posted by hector51 View Post
    "He is one of the students who works/work hard for the exams"

    the answer is "works" ,but I think it should be plural here,since "who" refers to "students" (plural noun),am I correct?looking forward to hearing from you and thanks in advance!
    This is one of those cases in which there is not only one answer. If the speaker's focus is on the one student, he will choose the singular; if it is on the many students, he will choose the plural. There is no real rule to cover this.

    My personal preference is to attach the relative clause to the nearest noun, except when the subject is "one". For me, that clearly focuses the remarks on the individual. Take this example:

    He is among the students who work very hard.

    Without "one" as the subject, I quite easily choose the plural verb.

    So it depends on one's focus.

    He is one [of the students] who works hard.
    He is one of [the students who work hard].
    Last edited by MikeNewYork; 28-Nov-2006 at 23:54.


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    #5

    Re: Singular or plural?

    Hi Mike,

    In the words of Swan, "strictly speaking, plural verb is correct (to agree with students)."

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Singular or plural?

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    Hi Mike,

    In the words of Swan, "strictly speaking, plural verb is correct (to agree with students)."
    Mr. Swan is a bright guy, but we have disagreed before.

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