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    #1

    When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the ...

    When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the nearest noun.

    Example: Bullets or a bomb is not allowed on the plane.

    The above is given by my son's English language teacher.

    Why 'is' used when there is 'and' preceding 'is'? And why is 'nearest' used when there are only two nouns,
    'bullets' and 'bomb', in the example sentence?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by kohyoongliat; 31-Oct-2013 at 05:41.

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    #2

    Re: When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the

    It should be "are."

    If you are talking only of two nouns, then it should be nearer. But that is a very common error. It took me a while to figure out what you were questioning.

    I bet the vast majority of native speakers would see nothing wrong with "nearest" used like that. The superlative is often used like this in real life speech.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the

    Bullets or a bomb is not allowed on the plane.
    The above is unnatural whether you use "is" or "are".

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Bullets or a bomb is not allowed on the plane.
    The above is unnatural whether you use "is" or "are".
    I agree. I would say "Bullets and bombs are".

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the

    I can't recall when I last wanted to take a bullet or bomb onto a plane.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the

    I'm not sure which 'is' you are questioning. Did you have the one underlined below in mind too?
    "When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or ..."


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    #7

    Re: When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the nearest noun.
    I don't think this is an absolute rule. The closest noun may affect the verb agreement with some speakers, but not necessarily all.

  5. panglossa's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the

    --> Neither bullets nor bombs are allowed...

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    #9

    Re: When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I can't recall when I last wanted to take a bullet or bomb onto a plane.
    You mean you actually wanted to when you were younger?

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    When a singular noun and a plural noun is joined by or, the verb agrees with the nearest noun.

    Back to the main point (before we are all arrested the next time we try to fly anywhere), that "is" should be an "are."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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