Verb Agreement Either or

When it comes to writing, one of the most frequent grammatical errors that can be found is related to verb agreement. This issue is particularly common when dealing with sentences that include the phrase “either-or.”

The phrase “either-or” is used to express a choice between two possibilities. In a sentence where “either-or” is used, it is important to ensure that the verb agrees with the subject. In other words, the verb must match the form of the noun that the sentence is referring to.

For example, consider the sentence: “Either the dog or the cat is responsible for the mess.” In this sentence, the subject is “either,” which is singular. Therefore, the verb “is” should be singular as well, indicating that only one of the two animals is responsible for the mess.

On the other hand, if we flip the subject, the verb should also change. “Either the cat or the dog are responsible for the mess” is incorrect because the noun closest to the verb, “dog,” is singular. Therefore, the correct sentence should read: “Either the cat or the dog is responsible for the mess.”

Furthermore, it`s important to remember that the subject closest to the verb is the one that determines the verb`s form. So, in a sentence like “Either the boys or the girl is going to the party,” the verb “is” should be used because “girl” is singular and closest to the verb.

However, in some cases, it can be tricky to determine the subject closest to the verb. For instance, consider the sentence: “Either the students or the teacher is/are going to the field trip.” In this case, the subject seems unclear. Is it the collective group of students and teacher, or is it just one of them who will be going on the trip?

In situations like this, it is often best to revise the sentence to clarify the subject-verb agreement. For example, we can change the sentence to “Either the teacher is taking the students on the field trip or the students are accompanying the teacher.” In this revised sentence, the verb agrees with the new, singular subject “teacher.”

In conclusion, remembering to match verbs with subjects that include “either-or” can be a challenging task. However, by paying close attention to the subject closer to the verb and revising when necessary, writers can ensure that their work remains grammatically correct and easy to understand.