Re: RE: Dorky grammar question

Subject: Re: RE: Dorky grammar question
From: Susan W. Gallagher <sgallagher5 -at- cox -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2004 13:49:37 -0400

Now I'm completely confused. %-\

In the original sentence, "the set" is the subject and
"defines" is the verb and so the number of set and defines
must agree. "Of rules" is merely an intervening prepositional
phrase and should have no influence on subject/verb agreement.

However, in the interest of everyone who said to recast the
sentence to make it more clear, I recommend using:

...a rule set that defines...

to retain the original meaning of the sentence without
introducing the problems that ensue when the verb and subject
are separated by a prepositional phrase that differs in number.

Just my two cents...
-Sue Gallagher

> From: "Jones, Donna" <DJones -at- zebra -dot- com>
> As David Brown pointed out, it depends. I had to read his explanation a
> couple of times before I caught on to what he was saying...
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> technical -at- theverbalist -dot- com
> Sent: Friday, August 13, 2004 11:20 AM
> Subject: Dorky grammar question
> Heya Wr-lers
> Sorry to bother the list with this, but I can't seem to find an answer in
> my usual on-line grammar souces, and my mom (the former English teacher)
> isn't home.
> So, in the phrase "a set of rules that defines" does the verb "define" get
> modified based on the singular noun "set"--making it "defines"--or based
> on the plural noun "rules"--making it "define"?
> ...just some of the fun minutia that makes my job fun ;)
> Grammatically,
> Mandy


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