Subject-verb agreement is one of the fundamental rules of grammar that writers and editors must follow. It helps ensure clarity, consistency, and coherence in writing. However, some expressions can be a bit tricky to handle, and one of them is the use of “neither.”
Neither is a conjunction that is often used to express a negative correlation between two things. It is commonly followed by “nor” and is used to indicate that both items are not applicable or not true. In terms of subject-verb agreement, “neither” can cause confusion, especially when it comes to pairing it with verbs.
The general rule for subject-verb agreement is that a singular subject is paired with a singular verb, and a plural subject is paired with a plural verb. However, the use of “neither” complicates things because it can be followed by singular or plural determiners, depending on the context.
When “neither” is followed by a singular noun, it takes a singular verb. For example:
– Neither the cat nor the dog is hungry.
– Neither the teacher nor the student was present in the class.
In both examples, “neither” is followed by a singular noun, so the verb used is singular as well.
On the other hand, when “neither” is followed by a plural noun, it takes a plural verb. For instance:
– Neither the cars nor the buses were on time today.
– Neither the boys nor the girls are allowed to use their phones during class.
In both cases, “neither” is followed by two plural nouns, so the verb used is also plural.
It is essential to remember that subject-verb agreement is crucial in ensuring that your writing is grammatically correct and communicates effectively. Errors in subject-verb agreement can lead to confusion or misinterpretation, and this is particularly true when dealing with expressions like “neither” that can be tricky.
Therefore, when using “neither” in your writing, make sure to pair it correctly with the appropriate verb form. If uncertain, take the time to review the rules of subject-verb agreement, seek advice from an editor or proofreader, or consult a reliable grammar resource.
In conclusion, mastering subject-verb agreement with “neither” is crucial for any writer or editor who seeks to produce clear, concise, and accurate writing. By following the rules outlined above, you can ensure that your sentences are grammatically sound and free from errors that can detract from the overall quality of your writing.