Subject/verb agreement with a slash (oblique)?

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That's Capital

Senior Member
English-Ireland
The sentence is:

You may, if you wish, pass the work on to other suitably qualified person/people.

This looks wrong to me as 'other' doesn't agree with 'person'. However, it does agree with 'people'. Is there a rule that you should always try to agree with the first word before the slash? So in this case it would be

You may, if you wish, pass the work on to another suitably qualified person/people.

Thanks!
 
  • Prairiefire

    Senior Member
    US (Midwest) - English
    In my writing, I try to avoid slashes whenever possible. Sentences can almost always be written in a way that makes them unnecessary.

    In this case, I doubt that the meaning of the instruction will be garbled if the writer chooses only the singular or the plural.

    I would write: You may pass work on to others who are qualified.

    You didn't ask, but I also think 'suitably qualified' is redundant. Is there such a thing as being unsuitably qualified?
    I also believe the 'if you wish' is both unnecessary and is placed badly in the middle of the idea. If there was a good reason for including 'if you wish,' I would put it at the beginning or the end of the sentence.
     

    That's Capital

    Senior Member
    English-Ireland
    Thanks Prairiefire. I do agree with what you're saying but this is a straightforward proofread and I've been asked to change as little as possible. With that in mind, would you agree that 'You may, if you wish, pass the work on to another suitably qualified person/people' is the lesser of two evils?



    In my writing, I try to avoid slashes whenever possible. Sentences can almost always be written in a way that makes them unnecessary.

    In this case, I doubt that the meaning of the instruction will be garbled if the writer chooses only the singular or the plural.

    I would write: You may pass work on to others who are qualified.

    You didn't ask, but I also think 'suitably qualified' is redundant. Is there such a thing as being unsuitably qualified?
    I also believe the 'if you wish' is both unnecessary and is placed badly in the middle of the idea. If there was a good reason for including 'if you wish,' I would put it at the beginning or the end of the sentence.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I like Franco-filly's suggestion: leave out /people​. The meaning doesn't change because you can pass on the work to single or multiple individuals.
     
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