Subject-Complement Agreement

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objectivereason

New Member
korean
1.Courts also ruled that Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are an issue regarding politics rather than human rights.


2. since scores in school are an important factor regarding going to universities, this system would cause negative effects on the rights of students.


my English tutor, a Filipina, said 1 is not correct, and 2 is correct.

she said as for 1, you have to use issues instead of an issue because the subject is rights, the plural.

Furthermore, she said as for 2, you can use an important factor even though the subject is scores, the plural. However she couldn't explain the reason.

what do you think about it?
 
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  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't think that one is any better than the other. I think you need to try to make subjects and complements agree in number.

    You certainly need to say an issue and an important factor.

    I hope you are gentle with your teacher when discussing this; English is a difficult subject to teach and it's brave of a foreigner to undertake instructing you.
     
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    objectivereason

    New Member
    korean
    Thank you for your correction. Your opinion is that as for 2 I can't use an important factor. right?

    Then what do you think about "Food shortages are a factor of rural poverty"? This sentence is from a dictionary.
     
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    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you for your correction. Your opinion is that as for 2 I can't use an important factor. right?

    Then what do you think about "Food shortages are a factor of rural poverty"? This sentence is from a dictionary.
    I think you should try to keep subject and complement equal in number.

    There are times where one can get away with not doing so, and others where one almost has to avoid doing so.

    The sentence Food shortages are a factor of rural poverty was given as a written answer to a question in the British House of Commons, in 2003, by Clare Short, the Secretary of State for International Development. I'm surprised that her civil servants wrote that. I'd have expected Food shortages are a factor in rural poverty.

    There are certainly times when plural things can be one of a series of things influencing something else, and this pushes us into the construction, which is like the construction of your original sentences, neither of which I like, for a host of other reasons.

    I can't see a reason for preferring the use in one of the sentences rather than the other.
     
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