Tuesday, November 9, 2010

And, Both, As well as—When we join things, are they always plural?

Which of the following is incorrect?

1. Both the status report on the bridge project, as well as the budget report, are in the folder.

2. The page proof as well as the list of corrections has been sent.

3. Smith, Michaels and Jones is our law firm.

I often see errors of verb agreement in business writing, even though at its most basic level, verb agreement is considered quite elementary. After all, almost no-one who writes professionally would say “the reports is in the folder” or “the project are complete.”

How, then, do we end up with verb agreement problems in professional writing? Often the problems occur when more than one subject precedes the verb in a sentence.

The basic rule for multiple subjects is that when two or more subjects are connected by the word “and,” a plural verb is used. For example, “My dog and my cat [a total of two pets] are [plural verb] hiding behind the couch.”

The second rule, however, is that if you use a connecting phrase other than the exact word “and,” the subjects do not add up. So when you connect two subjects with phrases such as “as well as,” “in addition to,” “along with,” the additional subjects do not count. For example, “My dog [the main pet I am discussing] as well as my cat [which does not count, because I used a phrase other than “and”] has [singular verb] fleas.”

Another problem that comes up with “and” versus other connecting phrases is the use of the word “both” in front of any other connector but “and.” The words “both” and “and” form a team, known as a correlative conjunction, and “both” cannot be used with other phrases. “Both Jack as well as Jill” is completely wrong. Either eliminate “both” or use “and” instead of “as well as.”

Finally, there is an exception to the “and makes plural” rule. I call it the macaroni and cheese rule. Some phrases containing the word “and” actually describe a singular thing, like macaroni and cheese. When you eat macaroni and cheese for dinner, you are eating one dish. The macaroni and the cheese are all mixed together to form one substance. So we correctly say “The macaroni and cheese [one substance] is [singular verb] good tonight.”

Not only other foods, such as spaghetti and meatballs, but also many proper nouns and job titles contain the word “and” but name a singular thing:

Steak and eggs is my favorite breakfast.

The Stars and Stripes is waving atop the flagpole.

Smith and Jones is the accounting firm.

Our secretary and treasurer is Mike.

With these rules and exceptions duly noted, by now you can be sure: No. 1 is incorrect, and Nos. 2 and 3 are correct.


Anonymous said...

I definitely appreciate your internet site. I must admit this post worth reading. All of them are informative and useful. Thank you for sharing information with us.


Cindy Dy said...

Awesome there, Great work, keep it up. I love returning back to this site and reading the quality content you always have on offer.


Rachael Sable said...

We came to know wonderful things form your blog.
Very nice blog.
grammar correction.

Shane Saukazi said...

It’s a classic great for me to go to this blog site, it offers helpful suggestionsGrammarly review

ImproveAmerica said...

What about multiple sub-items in a list? In other words, "This technology supports both flexibility and redundancy, and enhanced performance." In this case, the both is referring to the two separate entries, where the first deals with characteristics and the second deals with technical functionality. Should I eliminate "both" and just say "flexibility, redundancy and enhanced performance?" Regrettably, this elevates the first two to equality with the third feature, something I'm trying to avoid. Thanks in advance

Leslie Lim said...

First time I commented in a blog! I really enjoy it. You have an awesome post. Please do more articles like this. I'm gonna come back surely. God bless.


Jenna Good said...

Very nice blog! I like to learn english grammar with your help, thank you! Here is a
sentence checker that works really great!
Thanks again!

Nadin Broun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Linde said...

It is here and it works - Online English Grammar Checking Tool can easily improve your English writing by transforming it correct, professional, and impressive. Writing is being used daily by most of us for a wide range of assignments - finding new jobs, writing personal or business Emails, writing essays and articles etc. correct a sentence online

Anonymous said...

It is great to see your article. Your writing is very nice. but this article have a silly problem. There are some silly spelling mistake. You should check them. There are so many online site where you can check them. pronoun checker free.

Barbara F. Dixon said...

Students should not be worries now, because we are providing quality education for all class of people where ever they are living, rural or urban they just have to visit our website and obtain educational material of any type that they like.more

Emily M. Clemons said...

Many student have much interest in medical education. But they do not focus on these subject because they can’t complete or write assignments due to lack of time or any other problem. Now we have qualified teacher and services that have a great facilities of writing.click here

nyemar said...

this article is so helpful for me. I really need this.
punctuation checker free online no download .

Kurtis Miller said...

The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. duplicate checker tool

Michael Jones said...

All Online Assignment help is a web portal where students get help in making assignments for all the subjects, with the help of our experts. You will get 100% plagiarism free assignment. Expert’s consultation is also available for students. If they have any query they can contact with our experts anytime.

Liam said...

you can go through AllAssignmentHelp.com reviews. It will help you to know about the services, and it will help you to know whether that site is reliable or not. This is a way of understanding the opinion of users, and it helps the website to maintain its functionality and reliability.

Alex said...

The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post Huawei H31-331 exam dumps. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept.

Catherine Daisy said...

Thanks for the wonderful tips, we often face problems while working at our workplace, I shall suggest my friends to also read this article. I am sure they will also be able to draw some positive aspects from this postACE4Sure.

Colin Antony said...

Please keep sharing more such article. I've really like your blog and inspire me in many ways. Follow https://speedypaper.com/thesis-statement-generator/ and try to make your essay.

Molly Miller said...

Thank you for useful information. To know more about extraessay welcome to WritingPaperSucks.