Friday, April 19, 2013
Subject-Verb Agreement With Intervening Material
Intervening Material--Material that is surrounded
by commas (or followed by a comma if used as an
opener) and can be "plucked out" of a sentence
without harming the "realness" of the sentence.
How can you determine subject-verb agreement when "intervening material" is present. First of all, you have to determine if the info is really "intervening material" or is absolutely needed for the sentence. I tell my students that if it is surrounded by commas (or should be!), it usually means that it is "dropped into the sentence" and can be "plucked out" without harming the "realness" of the sentence.
Thus, place mental parenthesis around this intervening material (especially prepositional phrases) and match your verb with the remaining subject (ignoring the intervening material).
1. She, along with others, was coming for dinner.
1. SHE, (along with others), WAS coming for dinner.
2. They, with their dog, are going to be here at ten.
2. THEY, (with their dog), ARE going to be here at ten.
3. One person, out of all ten, seems to care.
3. ONE PERSON, (out of all ten), SEEMS to care.
This is hard to do--and at times the sentence will sound incorrect. However, it is the proper way to reconcile subject-verb agreement with intervening material.
Have a "good grammar" day! :)