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    • Join Date: Dec 2009
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    Subject-verb agreement.Please help

    I have read a lot all rules about multiple subject-verb agreement, but none of them could help me with my question. The only thing mentioned in the rules everywhere is that if the subject is multiple, and the two nouns of the subject are connected with a conjunction AND, then the verb is plural.
    What if there are more than two subjects NOT connected by AND? For example: "There was a lot of food at the party. There was beer, chips, sandwiges" or " There were beer, chips, sandwiges"? Please help!!! Thanks in advance

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    Re: Subject-verb agreement.Please help

    The word is sandwiches. Singular, sandwich. Named for the Earl of Sandwich. Or the Islands now called Hawaii. Either way, that's how it's spelled.

    The and, even if not spoken, is implied.

    The verb must agree with the closest member of the subject list. "There was beer, chips and sandwiches." If this disturbs purists, then the sentence must be recast: "There were sandwiches, chips and beer."

    And all rules are made to be broken. Give me an hour and I'll find an idiom that breaks this rule. Or someone else will...

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 2

    Re: Subject-verb agreement.Please help

    Thank you very much, jilinger, for the speedy reply! That really helped me

    • Join Date: Nov 2009
    • Posts: 966

    Re: Subject-verb agreement.Please help

    There was beer, chips, sandwiches. (informal)
    There were beer, chips, sandwiches. (formal)

    Traditional English Grammar prescribes that notional concord govern SV agreement. It means, if the notional subject in predicative position is compound, the verb should be plural. For this reason, the singular in the sentence above is considered ungrammatical by many, and you would be wise to avoid them in careful writing. However, the use of 'there is/was' with plural nouns is extremely common in colloquial speech.

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