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Grammar Amazon

- Tricky and Unusual Forms -

Certain words appear to be plural, but through common usage are singular in meaning and take a singular verb:

    The news about the flood is not good.
    (similarly for: billiards, politics, economics, ethics, mathematics, physics, mumps, measles)

Some words appear plural in form, but even when used in the singular sense they still take a plural verb:

    Alfonso's trousers are hanging out to dry.
    (similarly for: athletics, pliers, odds, scissors, tongs, wages)

In a sentence with a compound subject, the verb number should match the number of the nearer part of the subject:

    Jokonor or her sisters write about life on the delta.
    Neither Aleixo nor the fishermen claim expertise in billiards.
    (similarly for: either..or, not only..but also)

When an expression specifies an amount or regards things involved as a unit, a singular verb is used:

    Ninety percent of the delta is marsh.
    Eight years is a long time to live on the delta.
    Ten kilometers an hour is the speed limit near the dock.
    Thirty dollars seems expensive for a ferry ride.

The word phenomena is plural:

    The phenomena that result from the tide are many.

The word phenomenon is singular:

    The phenomenon of a sinking crust is difficult to measure.


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