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.
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