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Subject-Verb Agreement

Nov 27, 2015 | Grammar and Writing Tips

I recently saw this quote from a New York Times article: “The couple, who are married, lives in Price.”  Wow.  Where do I even start?

Is there subject/verb agreement?  Hard to say.  The verb, lives, being singular, agrees with the couple, which is a collective singular.  See last week’s post for more on those, but what’s important to know here is that collective singulars are treated grammatically just like any other singular.  But lives does not agree with the parenthetical subject, who are married, which is plural because it is talking about the two individuals who comprise the couple, not the couple itself.  So, really, the only way to fix this sentence is to scrap it and start over.

I think what bothers me the most is that is was in the New York Times.  I find it very upsetting that a professional writer would put out a sentence like that.

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