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Verbs


Rule 7:
Prepositional phrases do not affect agreement between the subject of the sentence and the verb.
Often a singular subject will be followed by a prepositional phrase that contains a plural word as the object of the preposition. Prepositional phrases do not affect agreement between the subject of the sentence and the verb. We can mentally "block out" the entire prepositional phrase from the sentence while we decide whether to use a singular or a plural verb.

For example, notice the plural words that are objects of the prepositions of, in, and at in the following sentence parts:

• An examination of the records. . .
• The spectator in the bleachers. . .
• The worker at the controls. . .

When a verb follows such plural words, many of us understandably (but mistakenly) make the verb plural (as in "the worker at the controls are. . ."). But the plural word (controls) that follows the preposition is not the subject of the verb that follows-the singular subject that precedes the prepositional phrase is the subject (the worker at the controls). Thus, the sentence should read: "The worker at the controls is. . .").

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