• tips 05.11.2011 2 Comments

    If you have a girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse living in another city, you are probably familiar with long distance relationship. You may even cringe just thinking about it. However it is indispensable in English grammar. Look at these sentences:

    The girl looks cute.

    The girls look cute.

    The verb has an “s” whenever the subject is third person singular. For three person plural subject, you don’t put the “s”. Now look the following sentence.

    The girl we met at the party next door looks cute.

    The girls we met at the party next door look cute.

    The verb look must agree with the subject, girl or girls, and that agreement takes place over a long distance. The subject and the verb are separated by a pretty long clause, we met at the party next door. There is no limit to how many words may intervene, as in the following sentence:

    The girls we met at the party next door that lasted until three AM and was finally broken up by the cops who were called by the neighbors look cute.

    You see that there is a very very long boundary between the subject and the verb, but they still in agreement. Just like you are still attached to your partner/spouse though he/she is far away.

    The same thing also goes with subject and pronoun agreement. Look at the example below:

    The new oak tree, along with three bags of planting mix and a box of fertilizer, was delivered to my house this morning.

    You see that the subject is separated by the modifying phrase beginning with along with and plural noun. Again, the verb must agree with the singular subject.

    Isn’t that romantic?


    An Introduction to Language, Fromkin & Rodman, 1998.