Agreement question

Lisa O'Brien lisasmiles123 at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 18 21:31:16 UTC 2002

Hey there! Thanks for writing me back! You just made my day when I saw your
message! I had one of those days today  and I am not to thrilled about it. I
think I am going to go pamper myself for awhile. Ok well here are some more
pics of me, I would take the time to attach them, but come to think of
it...I don't really know how to do that. Ok well I hope you think I am
still pretty!! Teehee!! Ok well I will check back on here a little later,
and see what we should do from here. Ok well, time for me to make my day
even better. See ya later babe!! xoxo Lisa

>From: Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Agreement question
>Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002 09:16:32 -0700
>jesse sheidlower reports the odd number agreement in "The stories the
>press tell are shaped..."  and considers (a) the proximity of
>"stories", (b) notional plurality of "press", and (c) the -s ending of
>i agree that the original example doesn't sound so bad.  but things
>get *much* worse with singular "story": "The story the press tell is
>shaped..."  since factors (b) and (c) aren't changed here, we're
>left with (a) - perhaps in combination with (d) an anticipation of the
>plural "are" immediately following "tell(s)" (and triggered by the
>earlier "stories").
>it's possible to vary some of the factors independently:
>   (a), (b), (c), no (d): The stories the press tell will be shaped...
>   (a), (b), no (c), (d): The stories the internet tell are shaped...
>   (a), no (b), (c), (d): The stories our wire service tell are shaped...
>the last two are unquestionably wretched for me, but the first might
>get past me, which suggests that the plurality of "stories" is the
>most important factor (though the others might help some).
>arnold (zwicky at

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