A or B...is/are

Discussion in 'English Only' started by yjhjerry, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. yjhjerry Senior Member

    China
    Chinese
    Hello, everyone. I am not sure whether the word "are" used in the quote was correct or not, if it is corret, can we use "is"? Why?

    Thank you in advance!!
     
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hello, jerry

    I'd say:
    Reward or punishment is meted out:tick:
    Rewards or punishments are meted out :tick:
    Reward or punishment are meted out
    :cross:
     
  3. GrandBlank Member

    English/U.S.
    In support of Loob, I will add that the verb agrees with the closer subject.

    In fact, this is true even if one subject is plural and one is singular.

    Cash or prizes are awarded.
    Prizes or cash is awarded.
     
  4. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I agree with Loob and GrandBlank. In this sentence, two subjects are coordinated with or, which represents a choice, so the verb generally agrees with the nearer one:

    The reward or punishment meted out is quite independent of (any) human interference.

    (I have taken the liberty of adding an article and moving the verb to make sense out of the sentence.)
     
  5. yjhjerry Senior Member

    China
    Chinese
    Thanks you, I have really really learned a lot. :)
     

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