the performance of healing rituals over time produce


Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
If, via conditioning, the performance of healing rituals over time produce positive changes in health, then the person will come to consciously expect better health outcomes whenever such a ritual is performed (such as when he swallows pills).
(The Problem of Ritual Efficacy)

Would you be so kind as to tell me whether it should be 'produces' instead?

If it is so, this must be a case of the proximity principle:

The principle of proximity, also termed 'attraction', denotes agreement of the verb with a closely preceding noun phrase in preference to agreement with the head of the noun phrase that functions as subject.
(A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language; R. Quirk)

In our case it must be the preceding plural noun 'rituals' that influenced the choice of the plural verb 'produce'. But why not 'time'? Why was it skipped over, as it were, and didn't influence the verb 'produce', hence transforming it into 'produces'?

  • VicNicSor

    "Rituals" is part of the subject anyway, and according to the quote from Quirk, it falls into that "principle of proximity"; but as the others here I think it should agree with "performance".
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