Semicolon: Grammatical Number and Plural Verb Essay

Submitted By Erica40
Words: 1327
Pages: 6

When to Use a Semicolon

1. Use a semicolon when you link two independent clauses with no connecting words.


It rained heavily during the night; some of the local streets were flooded during rush hour.

I am going home; I am not attending the concert.

They couldn’t make it to the meeting; they are detained on a project.

2. Use a semicolon when you join two independent clauses with a conjunctive adverb: however, moreover, therefore, consequently, otherwise, nevertheless, thus.


I am going home; therefore, I am not attending the concert.

It rained heavily during the night; however, the streets were not flooded for rush hour.

They were detained on a project; therefore, they couldn’t make it to the meeting.

Subject-Verb Agreement

1. A singular noun as a subject has a verb that ends in s or es. A plural noun as a subject ends in s, but the verb does not.

The boy plays. The boys play. The bird soars. The birds soar.

2. Subject and verbs should agree even when other words come between them.

A catalog of courses and requirements often baffles students. The requirements stated in the catalog are unclear.

The president, as well as the deans, has not agreed to revise the student handbook.

3. Subjects joined by and usually take plural verbs. Frost and Roethke were contemporaries. Exceptions:

* When the parts of the subject form a single idea or refer to a single person or thing, they take a singular verb.

Avocado and bean sprouts is a California sandwich. * When a compound adjective is preceded by the adjective each or every, the verb is usually singular.

Each man, woman, and child has a right to be heard. * When a compound subject is followed by each, it takes a plural verb.

The man and woman each have different problems.

* When all parts of a subject joined by or or nor are singular, the verb is singular. When all parts are plural, the verb is plural.

Either the painter or the carpenter knows the cost.

The cabinets or the bookcases are too costly.

* When one part of a subject is singular and the other plural, avoid awkwardness by placing the plural part closer to the verb.

Awkward: Neither the owners nor the contractor agrees

Revised: Neither the contractor nor the owners agree. * When the subject consists of nouns and pronouns of different person requiring different verb forms, the verb agrees with the nearer part of the subject.

Awkward: Either Juarez or I am responsible.

Revised: Either Juarez is responsible, or I am.

4. With an indefinite pronoun, use a singular or plural verb as appropriate.

Singular: another, anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, little, much, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, other, somebody, someone, something

Plural: both, few, many, others, several

Singular or Plural: all, any, more, most, none, some

Something smells. Neither is right. Both are correct. Several were invited

* Other indefinite pronouns take a singular or a plural verb depending on whether the word they refer to is singular or plural.

All of the money is reserved for emergencies. All of the funds are reserved for emergencies.

* Or the word may be implied:

All are planning to attend.

All is lost.

5. Collective nouns take singular or plural verbs depending on meaning.

The group agrees that action is necessary.

* When considering the group’s members as individuals who act separately, use the plural form of the verb.

The old group have gone their separate ways.

* The collective noun number may be singular or plural. Preceded by a, it is plural; preceded by the, it is singular.

6. The verb agrees with the subject even when the normal word order is inverted.

Is voting a right or a privilege? Are a right and a privilege