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  1. #1
    alal6375 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Subject-verb agreement

    Dear teachers,

    We say,
    "A number/a total/a bunch of children are playing on the footpitch."
    However, in the following sentence, we say,
    "A wide range of vocabulary and sentence structures is used accurately and appropriately."
    Could you tell me the reaon/s behind them?
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: Subject-verb agreement

    In your original sentence, by the way, "A total' doesn't work.

    A number/bunch of children - this refers to more than one child, so a plural verb is needed.

    A wide range - the subject here is "range," a singular noun, which takes a singular verb.

    Does that help?

    [not a teacher]

  3. #3
    alal6375 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Subject-verb agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    In your original sentence, by the way, "A total' doesn't work.

    A number/bunch of children - this refers to more than one child, so a plural verb is needed.

    A wide range - the subject here is "range," a singular noun, which takes a singular verb.

    Does that help?

    [not a teacher]
    Thank you, Barb. To my understanding, a number or a bunch connotes "a few". A wide range, which means to cover many vocab. and sentence structures, carries the same meaning as "a number or a bunch", more or less.
    So, I can't see why a plural verb, rather than a singular, shouldn't be used in the second example.

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Subject-verb agreement

    Truthfully, I think you have flexibility with the "range" one. If you want to emphasize the different number of things that are available, then you can use the plural, but if you want to emphasize the range itself, then use the singular.

    I was saying that it's not wrong to use the singuarl, but it's not absolutely required either. It depends on what the focus is on.

    [not a teacher]

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