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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    agreement of subject and verb

    I've just acquired the Cambridge Grammar of English and was rather shocked to read, on page 1 of the introduction, this sentence:

    These aspects of the arrangement of things in sentences is referred to as syntax.

    It's been a long time since I studied any grammar but surely the subject here is "aspects", which is plural (as confirmed by the adjectival "These") and therefore the verb should be the plural form "are". Granted that this links to the singular "syntax" which is awkward. Personally I'd be inclined to recast the sentence into something like "Syntax is the name given to... etc" but I'd like to hear your comment on the original sentence.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: agreement of subject and verb

    I completely agree with you. I am also shocked.

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    #3

    Re: agreement of subject and verb

    Especially on page 1.

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    #4

    Re: agreement of subject and verb

    Thanks all,
    I wrote to Professor Carter at Nottingham University asking for an explanation. Here's his reply:
    "You are right, Brian. This is a typo. It has been drawn to our attention before. We have noted it and it will be corrected and rephrased, probably along the lines you suggest, when the book is issued in its next edition.
    Thank you for writing about this. It is important.
    Best wishes,
    Ron Carter."
    This leaves me simultaneously consoled and disturbed!
    Last edited by Tdol; 28-Aug-2014 at 02:43. Reason: Spaces

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    #5

    Re: agreement of subject and verb

    renbri, the default font size is adequate for most purposes.

    Getting a positive reply from Prof Carter was an achievement. Remain consoled but not disturbed.

    Please use the Edit Post button to insert spaces between the numerous pairs of words which have been run together in yout post, followed by Save.

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: agreement of subject and verb

    Wow. That's amazing. I'll bet it's been called to their attention!

    Nice one, Brian! Glad you got to the bottom of it.

    Cambridge?! Sheesh....

  5. Newbie
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    #7

    Re: agreement of subject and verb

    Being in my 80th year, I'm not at my best with this electronic mail system but I did try to separate those words and I did select 'Save' afterwards. Sadly, the post reappeared in the unwanted form so I put on my pantaloons and slippers and went off to make breakfast. Where might I have gone wrong?

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    #8

    Re: agreement of subject and verb

    I'd put it down as just one of those things. The spaces are magically back in now.

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    #9

    Re: agreement of subject and verb

    Quote Originally Posted by renbri View Post
    This is a typo. It has been drawn to our attention before.
    I'd love to know how many times this has been drawn to their attention.

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    #10

    Re: agreement of subject and verb

    I don't suppose I'll raise this quibble with Prof Carter but I cannot accept that the ubiquitous little word "typo" is appropriate here.
    If the verb form had been written as "art", then I would see it as a typographical error (The 't' is on the other side of the 'r' from the 'e' on a qwerty keyboard) and I would find it amusing because that is the archaic second person singular form. But writing "is" instead of "are" is not a typographical error; it's a grammatical and/or compositional error. No?

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