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  1. #11
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yankee View Post
    I have to go with "is". Remove "of the girls".
    You know, that was my first-blink reaction.

    But then I realized (as others did more quickly) that the sentence answers the question: One of the what? The girls who are missing, that's what. Girls are missing. She's one of them.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  2. #12
    Phaedrus's Avatar
    Phaedrus is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMatthews View Post
    The natural interpretation is that the relative clause modifies "girls": there is a set of girls who are missing and "Jill" is a member of this set.

    However, you may well come across singular override, as in

    [3] Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    which presumably can be attributed to the salience within the whole structure of singular "one". But it cannot be regarded as a semantically motivated override: semantically the relative clause modifies "girls".
    Doesn't the natural interpretation depend upon the context? We have no context. No context has been stipulated or even gestured at in the OP.

    Syntax allows for either parsing. The relative clause can be an adjunct either of the noun phrase headed by "girls" or of the NP headed by "one."

    If it is an adjunct of the former, "who" has a plural antecedent and takes "are." If it is an adjunct of the latter, "who" has a singular antecedent and takes "is."

    If the latter parsing seems unnatural, imagine we know which girls are being referred to and know that some (more than one of them, but not all) are missing.

    In such a context, it would be perfectly natural, semantically salient, and syntactically sound to identify Jill as being one of the girls who is missing.
    Last edited by Phaedrus; 17-Dec-2020 at 22:17. Reason: found another typo, sorry (thanks for the "like," Piscean)

  3. #13
    Andromeda is offline Newbie
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Which is the correct verb?

    Thanks.
    I am not a teacher, by the way.

    The antecedent of "who" is not "one", but "girls". "One" is not the subject of the verb. The actual subject is "who". It is, therefore, plural. If we turn the sentence around in our minds, we will end up with the correct verb: Of the girls who are missing, Jill is one of them.

    Michael Swan says in his Practical English Usage (529.1) [3rd Edition] that "strictly speaking, a plural verb is correct" in one of+plural noun+relative clause structures. Frederick T. Wood, the author of Correct English Usage [1987 edition], holds the same view. Patricia T. O'Conner (in her "Woe is I") [pgs. 60-61: 1996 edition] suggests "If the that or who comes before the verb, it's plural; if not, it's singular". She gives examples like: (1) He's one of the authors who say it best; (2) One of the authors says it best.

    Reader's Digest's "The Right Word at the Right Time" agrees with the above opinion.

  4. #14
    Tarheel's Avatar
    Tarheel is online now VIP Member
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Which is the correct verb?
    My tendency is to pair one with is. See the following sentence.

    Jill is one of the missing girls.*

    Note that those of us who speak the language daily tend to economize on words. And we don't do it consciously. We do it unconsciously.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    *I consider that sentence more natural.
    Not a professional teacher

  5. #15
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andromeda View Post
    I am not a teacher, by the way.

    The antecedent of "who" is not "one", but "girls". "One" is not the subject of the verb. The actual subject is "who". It is, therefore, plural. If we turn the sentence around in our minds, we will end up with the correct verb: Of the girls who are missing, Jill is one of them.

    Michael Swan says in his Practical English Usage (529.1) [3rd Edition] that "strictly speaking, a plural verb is correct" in one of+plural noun+relative clause structures. Frederick T. Wood, the author of Correct English Usage [1987 edition], holds the same view. Patricia T. O'Conner (in her "Woe is I") [pgs. 60-61: 1996 edition] suggests "If the that or who comes before the verb, it's plural; if not, it's singular". She gives examples like: (1) He's one of the authors who say it best; (2) One of the authors says it best.

    Reader's Digest's "The Right Word at the Right Time" agrees with the above opinion.
    I do, too!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  6. #16
    Andromeda is offline Newbie
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    My tendency is to pair one with is. See the following sentence.

    Jill is one of the missing girls.*

    Note that those of us who speak the language daily tend to economize on words. And we don't do it consciously. We do it unconsciously.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    *I consider that sentence more natural.
    This sentence is different from the original one. Here, "Jill" is the subject, and the copular verb is, therefore, singular.

  7. #17
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andromeda View Post
    This sentence is different from the original one. Here, "Jill" is the subject, and the copular verb is, therefore, singular.
    That was the way Tarheel would phrase it, because it's more concise and direct. We know it's different. That was the point.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  8. #18
    Phaedrus's Avatar
    Phaedrus is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andromeda View Post
    The antecedent of "who" is not "one", but "girls".
    What makes you so sure? It is grammatically possible for either "girls" or "one" to be the antecedent of "who," and there is no context to guide us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andromeda View Post
    "One" is not the subject of the verb. The actual subject is "who".
    Yes. "Who" is the subject of the verb in the relative clause.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andromeda View Post
    It is, therefore, plural.
    Whether "who" is singular or plural depends on whether its antecedent is "one" or "girls." Either antecedent is grammatically possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andromeda View Post
    If we turn the sentence around in our minds, we will end up with the correct verb: Of the girls who are missing, Jill is one of them.
    The sentence can be turned around that way, yes. And it can also be turned around like this: Of the girls, Jill is one who is missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andromeda View Post
    Michael Swan says in his Practical English Usage (529.1) [3rd Edition] that "strictly speaking, a plural verb is correct" in one of+plural noun+relative clause structures.
    Strictly speaking, Swan is wrong there. However, he proclaims that rule only after giving two examples which clearly lend themselves to that parsing.

    To help you see the possibility of the other parsing, it may help you to study the following example:

    Earth is one of the planets in our solar system that has liquid water.

    You won't want to say "have" is needed in that example, because it is unknown whether any other the other planets in our system has liquid water, and therefore there is no such thing as a known set of planets that have liquid water in our solar system. All we can say is that Earth is one of them that has it.

  9. #19
    PaulMatthews is offline Member
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andromeda View Post
    The antecedent of "who" is not "one", but "girls". "One" is not the subject of the verb. The actual subject is "who". It is, therefore, plural. If we turn the sentence around in our minds, we will end up with the correct verb: Of the girls who are missing, Jill is one of them.

    Michael Swan says in his Practical English Usage (529.1) [3rd Edition] that "strictly speaking, a plural verb is correct" in one of+plural noun+relative clause structures. Frederick T. Wood, the author of Correct English Usage [1987 edition], holds the same view. Patricia T. O'Conner (in her "Woe is I") [pgs. 60-61: 1996 edition] suggests "If the that or who comes before the verb, it's plural; if not, it's singular". She gives examples like: (1) He's one of the authors who say it best; (2) One of the authors says it best.

    Reader's Digest's "The Right Word at the Right Time" agrees with the above opinion.
    Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    The references you provide are essentially correct.

    The natural interpretation is that the relative clause modifies "girls": there is a set of girls who are missing and "Jill" is a member of this set. Syntactically, the relative clause can only belong in the embedded noun phrase with "girls" as head. Thus the plural verb "are" is correct.

    However, this is not always the case. Consider this example:

    Ed is one of her colleagues who is always ready to criticise her.

    Here the relative clause belongs in the topmost noun phrase with "one" as fused determiner-head. It is not a matter of there being a set of colleagues who are always ready to criticise her, but of there being just one colleague who is always ready to criticise her.

  10. #20
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: Jill is one of the girls who is/are missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Piscean is one of the members who are online at the moment.
    Piscean is one of the members who respond/responds here regularly.
    Piscean is one of the members who makes quite a few tysop.
    I'd use the plurial in all of thoes.
    I am not a teacher.

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