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    #1

    Grammar question

    Hi all:

    In regard to the following sentence, is the verb "come" correct? Or should it be "comes" since the noun next to it is singular? Is "clothing of the operator" a singular noun?

    If the hands or clothing of the operator come into contact with the acid . . .

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Grammar question

    I think that few native speakers would worry about this, and would consider that sentence acceptable. If somebody were really bothered, they might change it to: If the clothing or hands of the operator come into contact with the acid .

    That sounds far better to me than: If the clothing or hands of the operator comes into contact with the acid .

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    #3

    Re: Grammar question

    [QUOTE=chanbr;812679]


    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) An excellent teacher has given us the answer.

    (2) There is, however, a rule that some people try to follow:

    When a singular subject and a plural subject are joined by or or nor, the

    verb agrees with the nearer subject:

    Neither their brother nor the girls want to go.

    Either his assistants or the cook himself is at fault.

    Source: Warriner's English Grammar and Composition.

    (3) Therefore, if you wish to follow the rule, then I believe that you are 100% correct:

    If the hands or clothing of the operator comes into contact with ....

    P.S. Many books agree, however, that following the rule can often result in "awkward"

    (not nice-sounding) sentences, so those books recommend rewriting the sentences in

    such cases.

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    #4

    Re: Grammar question

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    Many books agree, however, that following the rule can often result in "awkward"(not nice-sounding) sentences, so those books recommend rewriting the sentences in such cases.
    Exactly

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