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AGREEMENT OF THE PREDICATE WITH THE SUBJECT
AGREEMENT OF THE PREDICATE
WITH THE SUBJECT
Грамматический справочник и методические материалы для студентов 3-го курса факультета иностранных языков
Печатается по решению УМС ВГПУ от 25.02.2003 г.
Составитель и ответственный за выпуск – С.А.Попова,
ассистент кафедры английской филологии.
Рецензент – Бондарь Н.Ф.,
доцент кафедры английского языка
Предлагаемые материалы и грамматический справочник предназначаются для студентов факультета иностранных языков педагогического вуза и являются дополнением к курсу «Практическая грамматика английского языка» для III курса.
Он включает в себя грамматические правила на английском языке, их иллюстрация и включение предложенного в упражнения.
Пособие состоит из теоретической части и практических упражнений .
Справочник может быть использован для аудиторной и самостоятельной работы студентов.
ВГПУ, издательство «Русь», 2003 г.
AGREEMENT OF THE PREDICATE WITH THE SUBJECT
§ 1. The most important type of agreement (concord) in English is that of the subject and the predicate in number and person. Thus a singular noun-subject requires a singular verb-predicate, a plural noun-subject requires a plural verb-predicate.
This rule of purely grammatical agreement concerns all present tenses (except modal verbs) and also the past indefinite of the verb to be.
World literatureknows many great humorists.
Great humoristsknow how to make people laugh.
This rule remains true for:
a) All link verbs irrespective of the number of the predicative noun as in:
Our only guidewas the Polar star.
Our only guidewas the stars.
b) The predicate of emphatic constructions with the formal subject it:
Itwas my friends who suddenly arrived.
It’s they who are responsible for the delay.
If the subject is expressed by the emphatic it the predicate is in the singular no matter what follows.
§ 2. Subject + a singular verb-predicate.
The verb-predicate is in the singular if the subject is expressed by:
1. An infinitive phrase or phrases.
To know everythingis to know nothing.
To be loved and to be wantedis always good.
2. A prepositional phrase.
After the meetingis the time to speak.
3. A clause introduced by a conjunction or conjunctive adverb.
Where you found himdoes not concern me.
How you got thereis beyond my understanding.
Whether you find him or notdoes not concern me.
Subject clauses introduced by conjunctive pronouns what, who may be followed by either a singular or plural verb.
What I want to dois to save us.
What were once precious manuscriptswere scattered all over the floor.
What I say and what I thinkare my own affair.
4. Arithmetic calculations, such as arithmetical addition, subtraction, division.
Four and four iseight.
Four minus two istwo.
Ten divided by five is two.
However multiplication admits of two variants.
Twice twois/are four.
5. The group many a + noun.
Many a man has done it.
Ни один человек проделал такое. (Многие...)
The banks of the Avon are beautiful in these parts.Many an artist comes there.
Thereismany a slip between the cup and the lip. (proverb)
6. The group one of + plural noun, more than one + singular noun
One of your children has lost a shoe.
More than one person disagrees.
7. Plural nouns or phrases when they are used as names, titles, quotations, names of countries.
“Fathers and Sons” is the most popular of Turgenev's novels.
“The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club” was written when Dickens was twenty-four years of age.
The United States issmaller than Canada.
However, the titles of some works which are collections of stories, etc., may have either a singular or a plural verb.
The “Canterbury Tales”consist of about seventeen thousand lines of verse.
Turgenev’s “Hunter's Tales”was/were published in 1852.
§ 3. Subject + a plural verb-predicate
A plural verb-predicate is used in the following cases:
1. With homogeneous subjects connected by and.
Sun and airare necessary for life.
Tom and Maryare my friends.
The ebb and the flow of the tideare regular.
However, with structures where coordinated nouns refer to one thing or person a singular verb-predicate is used.
...the wife and mother was asked with affectionate deference before the plan was made.
A carriage and pair waspassing through the lodge gates of Transome court.
... Chitterlow's needle and thread in his still unmended trouser leg wasmaking an annoying little noise on the pavement behind him.
Bread and butteris not enough for breakfast.(one object is meant)
Bacon and eggsmakes a traditional English breakfast. (one dish is meant)
The painter and decoratoris here. (one person is meant)
If the article is repeated, the reference is to two persons or objects, and a plural verb-predicate is used.
The bread andthe butterare on the table. (two separate objects are meant)
The painter andthe decoratorare here. (two persons are meant)
Likewise, when a singular noun-subject has two attributes characterizing the same person or non-person connected by and it has a singular verb and the article is not repeated.
A tall and beautiful girlwas waiting in the office.
A black and white kittenwas playing on the hearthrug.
But if the attributes characterize different persons or non-persons the verb is in the plural and the article is repeated.
A black and a white kittenwere playing on the hearthrug.
(A black kitten was playing and a white kitten was playing.),
The yellow and the red carwere badly damaged.
The red and the white rose are both beautiful.
The red and white roses are both beautiful.
However, the article is repeated before each attribute only with countable nouns. Uncountables have no article.
Classical and light music have both their admirers.
In modem hotels hot and cold waterare supplied in every room.
American and Dutch beerare both much lighter than British.
Good and bad tasteare shown by examples.
2. With homogeneous subjects connected by both.… and..
Both the bread and the butter are fresh.
Both the teacher and the studentshave come.
3. Subjects expressed by substantivized adjectives denoting groups of people (the blind, the dumb and deaf, the eminent, the mute, the old, the poor, the rich, etc.) always take the plural verb-predicate.
He did not look an important personage, but the eminent rarely do.
4. We normally use a plural verb with the names of sports teams:
Scotlandare playing France in a football match next week.
§ 4. Subject + a singular verb-predicate/ a plural verb-predicate
1. With there-constructions followed by subjects of different number, the predicate agrees with the subject that stands first. The same holds true for sentences with here.
There was a textbook and many notebooks on the table.
There were many notebooks and a textbook on the table.
Herewas Tom and Peter.
Herewas a man,was experience and culture.
In informal style, however, the singular verb is often used before the subject in the plural if the form of the verb is contracted.
Is there any place in town that might have them?- There's two. Both closed.
There's too many of them living up there.
There's two kinds of men here, you'll find.
2. With homogeneous subjects connected by the conjunctions not only... but also, either... or, or, neither... nor the verb-predicate agrees with the nearest noun-subject. (This is the so-called “proximity rule”.)
Either my sister or my parentsare at home.
Either my parents or my sisteris at home.
Neither you norI am right.
Neither I nor youare right.
Not only my parents but also my brotherknows about it.
Not only my brother but also my parentsknow about it.
Is Tom or Maryeager to meet you at the station?
3. With homogeneous subjects connected by the conjunctions as well as, rather than, as much as, more than the verb-predicate agrees with the first one.
My parents as well as my sisterare teachers.
My sister as well as my parentsis a teacher.