has/have

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Tan Elaine

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The fire-bombing of a number of suburban Kuala Lumpur churches over the past few days have highlighted the delicate balance of ethnic and religious interests in this generally peaceful, Muslim-majority nation. But just as importantly, the incidents have focused attention on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's leadership. After only nine months in office, he is facing a major challenge to his authority.

Why is 'have' used? I think the subject should be 'fire-bombing' and so 'has' should be used. As the above is written by a journalist, I wonder whether I am correct.

Many thanks.
 

2006

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You could also say 'The fire-bombings of a number........have highlighted......'
 

Tan Elaine

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You could also say 'The fire-bombings of a number........have highlighted......'

Can I use 'can' in place of 'could' in your sentence? What is the difference if either word is correct?
Also, should I use 'word' after 'either' in my sentence or is 'either' alone fine.

Thanks in advance.
 

mxreader

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Can I use 'can' in place of 'could' in your sentence? What is the difference if either word is correct?

Both asserts possibility, but "could" is more distant or remote in that possibility.

Also, should I use 'word' after 'either' in my sentence or is 'either' alone fine.

Thanks in advance.

It adds to clarity.
 

2006

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Can I use 'can' in place of 'could' in your sentence? Yes, so don't pay too much attention to what follows.


What is the difference if either word is correct? very slight difference, and native speakers may have different opinions about when to use which
Often it's just a matter of habit, of using whichever word comes to mind without really thinking about it.


If a sentence hadn't been written yet and someone was asking which word to use, I probably would say 'You can use.......'

If the sentence had been written and then someone was asking about it, I would probably say 'You could use....' Maybe that's because one can/could also say 'You could have used.....'


Related to the above, in some situations "can" is more related to an actual situation, while "could" is more related to a hypothetical or possible situation, or to an after-the-fact situation.

Look at some websites on 'can' and 'could'.


Also, should I use 'word' after 'either' in my sentence or is 'either' alone fine. "either" alone is okay, but I would use 'word' or 'one' after "either"; it would be more complete.
.
Thanks in advance.
2006
 
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