Pronoun-Verb Agreement

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Cepkah

Member
Bilingual:Bulgarian - Turkish
When using a singular indefinite pronoun, use a singular verb

I'm ok with it, however, what about the following sentence?
  • Neither Jack nor his friends go/goes to university
Thank you in advance,

Stefan
 
  • domangelo

    Senior Member
    United States English
    I believe that it is the rule of proximity that applies here.

    Neither Jack nor his friends go to university. (Because the plural word "friends" is next to the verb).

    BUT:

    Neither his friends nor Jack goes to university. (Because the singular "Jack" is next to the verb.)
     

    KHS

    Senior Member
    I agree about that we don't use that type of double negative.

    With the subject-verb agreement, theoretically, the number of the noun (or pronoun) closest to the verb controls the verb.

    Neither the teenagers nor the younger child wants to go.

    Neither the younger child nor the teenagers want to go.

    I went and checked my Harbrace College Handbook and it confirmed that type of agreement.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm puzzled by this talk of double-negatives. Surely neither...nor is not a double negative.

    It would be a double negative, in my book, if we said neither Jack nor his friends don't go to university.

    An obvious way round the singular/plural problem is to say Jack doesn't go to university, neither do his friends.
     

    KHS

    Senior Member
    I'm puzzled by this talk of double-negatives. Surely neither...nor is not a double negative.

    It would be a double negative, in my book, if we said neither Jack nor his friends don't go to university.

    An obvious way round the singular/plural problem is to say Jack doesn't go to university, neither do his friends.
    The double negative was edited out of the original post after our comments on it (I assume because it was obscuring the main point).
     
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