Published: 01st June 2020
An observation of concord mistakes: Reasons why learners of English face problems in concord
If the subject is singular and is separated by words such as along with, as well as, besides, etc, it is followed by a singular verb
One of the most common errors learners of English make is in the area of concord. There are different types of concords and one prominent type is the subject-verb concord. Even advanced learners and writers make such grammatical errors. My observations and research in the area of concords show that it is a problematic aspect of written communication for most English language learners. There are several reasons why learners of English as a second or foreign language face problems in concord. A singular subject takes a singular verb and a plural subject takes a plural verb. Examples:
The list of items to be bought is on the table.
(list = singular)
The lists of items to be bought are on the table.
(lists = plural)
Two singular subjects connected by or, either/or, or neither/nor require a singular verb. If one of the subjects is plural, the verb in an or, either/or, or neither/nor sentence agrees with the noun or pronoun closest to it. Examples:
Either my brother or my sister is going to attend.
Neither my mom nor my dad is interested in going.
Either John or his sisters are going to participate.
Neither my brothers nor my sister is interested
If the subject is singular and is separated by words such as along with, as well as, besides, etc, it is followed by a singular verb. If the subject is plural and is separated by the words, it is followed by a plural verb. Examples:
John, along with his wife and children, is going to visit us today.
My students, along with the hostel warden, want to watch the movie.
If distances, periods of time, sums of money, etc., are considered as a unit, a singular verb is used.
Fifty thousand rupees is a huge amount.
Five kilometres is not a long distance.
Subjects with the phrases a lot of, a majority of, some of, all of, a third of, etc. will take a singular verb if the noun that follows the phrases is singular and will take a plural verb if the noun that follows the phrases is plural. Examples:
A majority of them are eager to attend the webinar.
A third of the class is ready to pay the amount.
"Ten per cent of conflicts is due to the difference in opinion and 90% is due to the wrong tone of voice." - Na Mariz