- singular noun; singular verb, vice versa
Don't think it is as easy as you can imagine like the following
One person is...
Two persons are...
Try the following. Fill in the blanks (how "be" is changed for the following?):
Either of 2 people __
Either you or I __
Either I or you __
Neither of the children __
Neither parent or children __
Neither parents or child __
Neither parents or children __
Every person __
Every person and association __
A series of three bombs __
A team __
More than 1 cat __
More than 2 cats __
Less than 1 cat __
Less than 2 cats __
Many people __
Many a person __
It is just the tip of the iceberg. There are much more difficult situations arising from the rule.
Think twice, what we can get from knowing the "so-called" correct answer.
First you wrote a sentence grammatically correct and no more. You cannot gain anything from communicating better since you get a grammatically correct answer. Whether you fill the right/wrong answer, people will have no difficulty in understanding you (except they feel the sentence is strange).
Second you will get acknowledged that you are an English elite.
Third you may get a good job because you "use English correctly".
How native speakers are confused at it
It is not true that only learners confuse at it, but also native speakers.
Eg: Neither of the children __
The answer from different people:
One English net-teacher in UsingEnglish forum (http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7622 ) -- "are" because children means 2 persons
My native English friend in the UK -- If it is writing, the correct answer is "is". Neither is singular! If it is conversation, "are" is ok.
1 Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (1995)
"are" is used in one similar example
2 Collins Cobuild English Usage (1992)
We should use "is". However people sometimes use plural verb "are"
3 The American Heritage Book of English Usage (1996) http://www.bartleby.com/64/C001/038.html
"is" is used in one similar example "Neither of the twins is"
4 The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition (2000) http://www.bartleby.com/61/41/N0054100.html
Quoted: "The traditional rule also holds that neither is grammatically singular: …However, it is often used with a plural verb, especially when followed by of and a plural…"
- For Teachers