Subject-verb agreement is an essential part of any English sentence. It determines whether a subject and verb are correctly matched in tense and number. Moreover, using the right conjunctions can help writers achieve this accuracy. In this article, we will focus on the conjunctions neither – nor and either – or.
Neither – nor
When using neither – nor, it is essential to remember that the verb should agree with the subject closest to it. For instance, in the sentence, „Neither the girls nor their mother is going to the store,” the verb “is” agrees with “mother,” which means it should be singular. In a case where the closest subject has an irregular plural form, the verb should match the irregular plural. For example, „Neither the men nor the women were able to attend the meeting.” In this sentence, the verb “were” agrees with “women,” which is the closest subject to the verb.
Either – or
When using either – or, the verb should also agree with the subject closest to it. However, when both subjects are singular, the verb should also be singular. Consider the sentence, „Either the cat or the dog is going to the vet.” The verb “is” agrees with “dog” because it is the subject closest to it. If both subjects are plural, the verb should also be plural. For example, „Either the boys or the girls were responsible for breaking the vase.”
In cases where the subjects are of different numbers, the verb should agree with the closest subject. For instance, „Either the cat or the two dogs are going to the vet.” In this sentence, the verb “are” agrees with “dogs” because it is the subject closest to it.
Subject-verb agreement is an essential part of writing in English. Whether using neither – nor or either – or, it is vital to remember that the verb should agree with the subject closest to it. In doing so, writers can create clear and accurate sentences that engage their readers. So next time you use these conjunctions in your writing, pay attention to subject-verb agreement and make sure your sentences are grammatically correct.