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    #1

    The crowd was/were getting.....

    I attempted a subject-verb agreement exercise and encountered the following:

    - The crowd was/were getting angrier by the moment until they eventually began to throw stones.

    I think the answer is 'were' because of the presence of 'they' at the back of the sentence. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Thank you.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The crowd was/were getting.....

    In AmE we would normally use "was". It might be different in BrE.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The crowd was/were getting.....

    We could say either The crowd was getting angry or the crowd were getting angry in BrE. However, in Oceanlike's sentence, we would be more likely to use were and they.

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    #4

    Re: The crowd was/were getting.....

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Oceanlike:

    1. One book says that the biggest problem with such matters is inconsistency.

    a. That is, if you say "crowd was," then later on use "it" to refer to it; if you say "crowd were," then later on use "they" to refer to the antecedent.

    2. Here is here an example of inconsistency from one book:

    "The entire congregation troops into the church, seats itself, and remains for a good two hours, while an aged curate [priest] berates [criticizes] them
    for their sins."

    a. The book says that consistency would call for "it" (not "them") and "its" (not "their").

    b. The book then says something that you may want to remember when you are writing English:

    "It is the collective subject rather than its pronouns that needs to be changed."

    Therefore, that sentence might be changed to "All members of the congregation troop into ...."

    -- Wilma and David Ebbitt, Perrin's Index to English (copyright 1939 - 1977). I believe this "old" book's advice is still relevant in 2015.

    *****

    I then went to the "books" section of Google to see how authors in real life deal with this matter. I found some quotations that might interest you. [emphases are mine.]


    NOTE: Because of "technical problems" (I do not know how to type!), I hope to give the quotations in another post.

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    #5

    Re: The crowd was/were getting.....

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    1. "The crowd was more noisy than before as they returned from the building after the stones were thrown ...." -- THE DEATH OF JOHN ROBBINS (1855).

    2. "[T]he crowd was described as pushing out into the curb with the police trying to keep it in order." -- THE UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE OF TV (196?).

    3. "The crowd was responding with verbal threats of their own." -- THE WARRIOR IN ME (2010).

    4. "[T]he crowd was allowed to ... show its allegiance to [him]." -- ENDEAVOR TO PERSEVERE (2010).

    5. "The crowd was holding its breath in near silence as ...." -- BLADE OF THE POISONER (2015).

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