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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Criminal Sentence 105: Plural or Singular Subject?

Overheard on TV:

"I was born into a family where education, discipline and perseverance was just a given."

Three things cannot be "a given," though I understand why the speaker said it this way: it is awkward to say that a, b and c were givens. Nevertheless, when you have a compound subject, you need a plural verb, "were" in this case. To make this sentence grammatical, you'd need to reword it to something like "...a family where education, discipline and perseverance were expected of me."

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