Plural subj., sing v.

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 26 17:21:58 UTC 2010

I still cringe at s-v discord when a plural verb follows a singular subject
just because the verb is immediately preceded by a singular noun. Years of
observation, however, (and a conscious determination not to notice "errors"
only) convince me it's now the rule rather than exception, even in cable
news scripts.  I cringe because when I began teaching in 1976 not even
freshmen writers made the error terribly often.
But a CNN announcer in a spot ad (reading from a script, one assumes) alerts
us to this story:

"The parents of a brain-damaged mom fights for her right to see her own

Maybe the announcer unconsciously "corrected" the text before him. That
would be weird enough outside of some dialects.
Isn't this "singular for plural" a whole lot less common than "plural for
singular"? Especially in writing? Especially in "professional" writing?

Or don't I get out enough?


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

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