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Intervention elements

Intervening elements are phrases and clauses which appear between the subject and the verb of the sentence. In other words, sometimes a subject and a verb are separated   by clauses, phrases or a single descriptive word, e.g.                                                    

The quiz as well as all workbook exercises was collected.


     According to Wood (1966), if a clause separates the subject from the verb, it is important to remember the actual subject-word to make the verb agree with it, e.g.  

All the books which have been placed on that table by the window need rebinding.    The wireless set which you gave to my children works perfectly.

     Such intervening elements may cause confusion for the learner with regard to the choice of the verb. When words come between the subject and verb, a subject-verb agreement can occur. In fact, one of the most common problems in achieving proper agreement is mistaking the subject with other nouns in the sentence. According to Warriner and Griffith (1977) Lim and Kurtin (1982), Quirk et al. (1987), Burchifield (1996) expressions such as  ‘together with’,‘ in addition to’,' as well as', 'along with’

‘accompanied by',' rather than’, ‘besides’and ‘including 'do not affect the number of the verb, e.g.

The teacher, along with this students, was watching the procession.

The weather, as well as economic condition, is a consideration.

       EFL students need to be made aware of such grammatical features of English.


                                                                         Collective Nouns


      A collective noun is defined as a word that refers to a group or collection of persons or things, such as 'class’, ‘faculty’, ‘herd’, ‘committee’,‘jury’,and‘audience’

(Division, 1972).Such words imply more than one thing or person but are considered 

Singular and take a singular verb.

      According to Tipping (1962) ,Division (1972) ,Willis(1975) ,Warrier and Griffith(1977) ,when collective nouns refer to the group acting as a whole the  subject

is singular and requires a singular verb ,such as 'The team is winning the game.’

On the other hand, if the group is acting as individuals the subject in plural and takes plural verb, e.g. ‘The teams are trying on their uniforms.’

       Graver (1990) states that “English people as well as foreign students are often doubtful about which relative pronoun to use after words like these:association,company,government,class,group,club,society,committee and team.

When we use these words, we may consider them either as denoting an entity or as denoting a number of individuals, and we treat the words as singular or plural accordingly.”


 Plurals that take singular verbs


Some nouns those appear plural in form are actually singularinmeaning such as athletics, news, economics, measles,mathematics, etc. (Willis,1975;Burchfield,1996).

When used as the subject of the sentence, these nouns require singular verbs, e.g.

‘The news of baby’s birth brings great joy to the entire family’ (Rainey, 2000).


         With sums of money and periods of time also a singular verb should be used (Reber, 1999), e.g.

                    Ten dollars is a high price to pay.

                    Five years is the maximum sentence for the offense.                                                       

Pronouns that take singular verbs                 

         Indefinite pronouns such as ‘another’, ‘each, ‘‘none’, ‘anyone’,’anybody’,

‘Everybody’, ‘everything', and‘ no one' are always singular, and thus require singular verbs(Burchifield,1996),e.g.

Each takes her turn at rowing.

Everyone in the group has his own set of prejudices.

Everybody has done his/her homework

           Reber (1999) states that when ‘either’and‘neither’are used as subject of the sentence.they.too, take singular verb.e.g

Neither solution works for the committee chair.    .

           Burchfield (1996) holds that "there is one indefinite pronoun.i.e.none that can be either singular or plural; it doesn't matter whether one uses a singular or a plural verb unless something else in the sentence determines its number." Examples include:

None of you claims responsibility for this incident?

None of you claim responsibility for this incident?

Teachers should provide more illustrative examples, and more

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