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    #1

    A "correct the sentence" problem

    Nothing but novels please him.

    This sentence was given as a "correct the sentence" problem in some English exam I saw. My friends are adamant that it must be fixed as:

    Nothing but novels pleases him.

    but I disagree. Actually, I fail to see anything wrong at all with the statement at the top of the post. Someone please mention what exactly is wrong with the statement, if anything, and if the above correction works, or, if any other correction must be made and why.

    Thank you :D
    Last edited by maliksaim; 30-Jun-2013 at 02:34.

  1. SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: A "correct the sentence" problem

    (Not a Teacher)

    The original sentence sounds fine to me. "Novels pleases him" is incorrect.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: A "correct the sentence" problem

    Quote Originally Posted by SlickVic9000 View Post
    (Not a Teacher)

    The original sentence sounds fine to me. "Novels pleases him" is incorrect.
    But "nothing pleases him" is.

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    #4

    Re: A "correct the sentence" problem

    I reckon you've got a point, Mike. Still, I'm not sure whether 'please' should agree with 'novels' or 'nothing'. I suppose it should agree with the subject, but the way that clashes with "novels" makes me feel like the verb should be "please".
    Last edited by SlickVic9000; 29-Jun-2013 at 02:25. Reason: Punctuation

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    #5

    Re: A "correct the sentence" problem

    The subject is 'nothing' (singular), hence 'pleases'.

    'But' here reverts to its oldest function in English, as a preposition meaning 'except'.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: A "correct the sentence" problem

    Quote Originally Posted by SlickVic9000 View Post
    I reckon you've got a point, Mike. Still, I'm not sure whether 'please' should agree with 'novels' or 'nothing'. I suppose it should agree with the subject, but the way that clashes with "novels" makes me feel like the verb should be "please".
    Based o previous discussions about subject-verb agreement, I suspect there are many who would agree with you. If you move "but novels" to the end, you would probably make the other choice. Nothing pleases him but novels.

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    #7

    Re: A "correct the sentence" problem

    Quote Originally Posted by maliksaim View Post
    Nothing but novels please him

    This sentence was given as a "correct the sentence" problem in some English exam I saw. My friends are adamant that it must be fixed as:

    Nothing but novels pleases him

    but I disagree. Actually, I fail to see anything wrong at all with the statement at the top of the post. Someone please mention what exactly is wrong with the statement, if anything, and if the above correction works, or, if any other correction must be made and why.

    Thank you :D
    What your friends are concerned about in the original "Nothing but novels please him" is that the singular subject 'Nothing' is followed by a plural verb form.
    The previous responses are discussing whether this is correct practice or not, that is, whether your friends are right to be concerned.

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    #8

    Re: A "correct the sentence" problem

    Quote Originally Posted by maliksaim View Post
    Nothing but novels please him
    The correction needed is to put a full stop at the end.

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    #9

    Re: A "correct the sentence" problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    The correction needed is to put a full stop at the end.
    I added the full stops. Thank you, but that is not the solution I am looking for.


    I am even more confused by this discussion. What is the verdict then? Which one is correct and why?

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    #10

    Re: A "correct the sentence" problem

    The verdict is that whichever word you choose, somebody has a good reason to disagree with you.

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