comma btw subject and verb: emphasizes that A..., and B.., are the


English (UK)
Hello there, I've always been a little proud of my grammar, but this one is taking me down a few notches:

"This document emphasizes that efficiency in decision-making for the management of social services, and the regulatory framework governing them, are the main factors determining their performance, quality, and sustainability".

1) I feel like I need the comma in front of "and regulatory framework" because otherwise "efficiency in decision-making" would refer to mmt of soc. svcs AND the regulatory framework. Right, or wrong?

2) If I do need that comma, then should the verb afterwards be singular or plural ("is the main factor"/"are the main factors"). I really want to say "are", because, well, they ARE, but where, then, do I stand on subject-verb agreement? Might this be one of the exceptions that proves the rule?

Thanks so much for your urgent assistance!
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    I see your point, Dri18, and agree that the phrase "and the regulatory framework governing them" should be set off with commas. You should use "are" because you mention two different things that you have taken pains to distinguish.

    Welcome to the forum. If you post again, please avoid abbreviations like "mmt of soc. svcs".


    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Hi there - sorry I can't offer much help here. My suggestion is to rewrite the sentence. It's a mess, and it's very hard to read.

    That being said, if you must keep these exact words, I would take out the commas since both "efficiency" and "the regulatory framework" are "the factors." That would, of course, make the sentence even less readable.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    The question of the verb can be decided by yourself:

    John, and for that matter Jane, is a good artist. - "And for that matter Jane" is an aside; it does not affect the main thrust of the sentence, which is about John.

    John and Jane are good artists. - John and Jane are co-subjects and therefore the verb must be plural.

    so, if you feel you can insert "and for that matter" in front of "the regulatory framework governing them", the verb is singular. Otherwise it is plural.


    English (UK)
    Well, three responses in a matter of minutes - most impressive! Thanks very much indeed for the feedback. Glad to have the plural confirmed, rather than the singular; the latter jarred horribly for me.

    That said, totally agree with you Lucas - this is a translation and the original sentence is a DOG. But it needed to be further refined, so I've switched it around and in the process solved the original problem:

    "This document emphasizes that the main factors determining the performance, quality, and sustainability of social services are governance in management decision-making and the relevant regulatory framework."

    Sounds a lot better, though I could conceivably get into trouble for departing too much from the original....

    Thanks so much again to you all.