TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
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...
> 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-----
> technical -at- theverbalist -dot- com
> Sent: Friday, August 13, 2004 11:20 AM
> To: TECHWR-L
> 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 ;)
WEBWORKS FINALDRAFT: New! Document review system for Word and FrameMaker
authors. Automatic browser-based drafts with unlimited reviewers. Full
online discussions -- no Web server needed! http://www.webworks.com/techwr-l
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/ for more resources and info.