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PE3011 English Language Studies and Teaching 1 Grammar Lecture 8

PE3011 English Language Studies and Teaching 1 Grammar Lecture 8

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09/17/2010

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PE3011 English Language Studies and Teaching 1Grammar Lecture 8 : Usage Problems
(Reading : Greenbaum, p. 139 - 148)
Subject -Verb Agreement
The verb agrees with its subject in number and person.
affects the first verb in the verb phrase, whether it is a mainverb or an auxiliary.
Modal auxiliaries do not make distinctions in number or  person.S-V Agr in the following situations:
 Noun phrases with of- phrases as post-modifiers
What is the problem in the following sentences? Explain the problem and the rule violated.The teacher of these students are not here yet.
The head noun determines the number and personagreement.
A mistake to allow the verb to be influenced by an adjacentnoun in the of-phrasal modifier that is not the head noun.e.g.The noise of the demonstrators
is
distracting them.The noises of the demonstration
are
distracting them.A piece of cake
is
lost.(PartitiveStructure)Two pieces of cake
are
lost.(PartitiveStructure)
 
Can we then say ‘a lot of students have arrived’? Why or whynot?Some sub-sets of rulese.g.
 A lot of  
students
have
arrived.(Quantifier)
 A number of 
students
have
arrived.(Quantifier)
 A group of studentshas/have
arrived.(as Quantifier or Partitive, i.e., a unit)
 A crowd of students
 
has/have
arrived.
 Quantifier or Partitive, i.e., a unit)
 Partitives used to treat a subsequent noun as a unit of  particular size
Plural partitives of quantity or extent take singular verbswhen the quantity or extent is viewed asa unit, and pluralverbs otherwise.e.g.
 A pair of 
scissorsislying on the table.(a unit/object called ‘scissors’)(vs ‘Scissors are a small cutting tool …’ Collins Cobuild)
One hundred dollars is
not enough for this book.(Partitive to show
The amount of 
$100)
2
 
Two years
 
 seems
o me too long.(Partitive to show
The duration of 
2 years)
 Five miles
 
was
too much for him.(Partitive to show
The distance of 
5 miles)
Two years have
passed since I was last here.(The focus is on
the number 
of yearsi.e., counting of oneyear and two years.)Ten books
were
 lost.(The ten units of book …)
Collective Nouns
Both singular and plural verbs can be used, depending onwhether the group is to be considered as a
 single undivided body or as a collection of individuals
.e.g.The audience
was
 enormous.(
undivided body)
The audience
were
 enjoying every minute of it.(
a collection of individuals
)Our staff 
is
 growing very fast.Our staff 
are
all highly qualified.The committee
has
 tried to strike a balance between thetwo.The committee 
have
found it hard to reach a consensus.The public
is/are
not interested in this kind of music.
3

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