We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
I recently read the following statement in a written report: Stark evidence of such killings are held in mass graves . . . Evidence are held? Really?
When I write these blogs on grammar, I frequently wonder whether schools even teach diagramming sentences these days. Whoever wrote that statement obviously had no idea how to diagram it.
The verb are is the present plural form of to be. It is to be used only when the subject of the sentence is plural.
The noun evidence is the subject of the sentence, and it is singular. It demands a singular form of whatever verb is used in the sentence. The only way it could use a plural verb is if it is paired with another noun to make a compound sentence, such as The evidence and testimony indicate . . .
Apparently the person who wrote this paired the plural verb with killings, which in this sentence is the object of the preposition of. It is certainly not the subject of the sentence, and whether there are multiple killings or just one has no bearing on the verb in the sentence.
We know that a lot of the people who read our work—probably even the vast majority—are not grammar experts. They wouldn’t know what agreement of subject and verb means. But we can’t assume no one who reads our blogs or books knows the difference. We don’t want to appear ignorant to those who do know, so it’s important that we write grammatically correct pieces.
We need to be careful that the nouns or pronouns we use as subjects of our sentences and the verbs we use in the predicates agree with each other in number.
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