COMMON GRAMMATICAL ERRORS - ONE
COMMON GRAMMATICAL ERRORS
There are hundreds of ways in which one can commit errors while writing English. The errors could be grammatical, spelling errors or inappropriate usage of words. In here, we shall discuss the most common types of grammatical errors. You will find that each type is discussed separately and at length with suitable examples.
The fundamental rule in English Grammar is that the subject, which is a noun, and the predicate, which is a verb, must always agree in number - in other words, a subject which is singular in number must have a singular verb, and a subject which is plural in number must have a plural verb.
A singular noun can be either a proper noun such as John, Kamala, St. Xavier etc., or a common noun such as boy, cow, castle etc. It may also be a pronoun such as he, she, it, whoever etc. A plural subject can either be a plural noun such as men, pens, cities, they etc., or can be a compound noun such as 'Jack and Jill' or 'honesty and integrity' etc.
In sentences in which the predicate immediately follows the subject, there is no difficulty in sticking to this rule. But, very often, there are intervening words or phrases between the subject and the predicate. And this can give rise to doubts and mistakes. For example, consider the following two sentences:
Ram is honest.
Ram, whom I have known for decades, is honest.
In both these sentences, the subject is 'Ram'. In the second sentence, the predicate 'is' is far removed from the word 'Ram' but yet, from the point of view of grammar, the subject of the sentence continues to be 'Ram', and the predicate has to agree with it in number. Therefore, in this case also, the correct predicate is 'is', even though the word just preceding it is the plural noun 'decades'.
Therefore, what is important in determining whether the predicate must be in singular or plural number is the correct identification of the subject of the sentence! In each of the following sentences, there is an error relating to the number of the verb:
1. Insofar as the behavior of the students are concerned, let me make it clear that indiscipline will not be tolerated.
2. He guessed that one out of every four currency notes were counterfeit.
3. About the only thing you can get for a rupee these days are hundred paise
4. The discharge of industrial wastes have created a situation which must be corrected immediately.
5. During the flight, one of the two things that astronauts will look for are comets
6. The use of credit cards have increased hundredfold in the last decade.
7. The loss of eight lives were feared in the accident.
8. The value of these broadcasts lie in their being able to influence voting patterns.
9. The main target of the Prime Minister's remarks were the terrorists.
10. The basis for all his criticisms are prejudice and hypocrisy
If you just Write only the subject and predicate in each of these sentences, leaving out the other qualifying words or phrases, you will get 1. The behavior - are concerned 2. One - were counterfeit 3. The only thing - are hundred paise 4. Discharge - have created 5. One - are comets 6. The use - have increased 7. The loss - were feared 8. The value - lie in their 9. The main target - were terrorists and 10. The basis - are prejudice. You can immediately see that, in each of these sentences, the subject is a singular noun, while the predicate is the plural form of the corresponding verb, thus violating grammatical law.
Each of the above sentences therefore needs correction with the singular form of the verb in the predicate. The correct sentences are:
1. Insofar as the behaviour of the students is concerned, let me make it clear that indiscipline will not be tolerated.
2. He guessed that one out of every four currency notes was counterfeit.
3. About the only thing you can get for a rupee these days is hundred paise
4. The discharge of industrial wastes has created a situation which must be corrected immediately.
5. During the flight, one of the two things that astronauts will look for is comets.
6. The use of credit cards has increased hundredfold in the last decade.
7. The loss of eight lives was feared in the accident.
8. The value of these broadcasts lies in their being able to influence voting patterns.
9. The main target of the Prime Minister's remarks was the terrorists.
10. The basis for all his criticisms is prejudice and hypocrisy.
Note particularly the examples 3, 5, 9 and 10, in which the nouns that follow the verbs are plural in number, seeming to justify the use of the plural verb. But the rule is that the verb must agree in number with the subject of the sentence, whether the noun that follows is singular or not
COMMON GRAMMATICAL ERRORS - ONE Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan on 7:10:00 AM Rating: