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has or have
2

has or have

has or have

(OP)

They say that in a sequence of the type "neither-nor" the verb agrees with the closest subject, as in neither the Dutchman nor the Argentines have done it.

Reversing the order doesn't sound right to me:

Neither the Argentines nor the Dutchman has done it.

Any opinions?

RE: has or have

2
==> They say that in a sequence of the type "neither-nor" the verb agrees with the closest subject,
Then 'they' are wrong. There is no such thing as "closest" subject. A sentence has one, and only one, subject, and the verb must agree in number with that subject. There may be multiple nouns/pronouns, but only one is the actual subject. In this sentence, the subject is the pronoun 'neither'.

When you are using neither/nor, or either/or, to connect a singular noun with a plural noun, then the pronoun is considered plural and would call for a plural verb. In other words, "Neither have done it".
In this type of construct, it is good form to put the singular noun first and the plural noun second. "Neither the Dutchman nor the Argentines have done it."

Good Luck
--------------
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: has or have

(OP)
Then, kindly let us have your opinion about the following examples taken from:



Neither of the men wins any prize.
[the word ‘men’ is plural, but the real subject is “neither” (not this one; not that one) which is singular – ‘wins’ – singular verb].

Either he or I am wrong.
[‘I’ – first person, singular – comes after ‘or’ and is closer to the verb, and so takes ‘am’ in simple present tense.]

Neither you nor he was to take the responsibility.
[‘He’ – third person, singular – comes after ‘nor’ and is closer to the verb, and so takes ‘was’ in simple past tense.]




RE: has or have

(OP)


"Eppur si muove".

See, please, examples, etc., from various sources:

Either the students or the teacher takes a day off every month.

Neither my friends nor my father is ready.

In these constructions, "neither" and "either" are no longer the subjects of their sentences. Instead, they function as conjunctions, working in pairs with "nor" and "or" to join two other subjects in the sentence. When this occurs, the verb agrees with whichever subject is closer to it.

Neither and either always take singular verbs when acting as the subject of a sentence.


RE: has or have

Re-word to avoid the construction, problem solved.

It doesn't matter if the neither/nor subject-verb agreement is right or wrong, it will sound funny to many when read aloud. It's the same problem with using "a" or "an" in front of an acronym that starts with s. "An SPCA report stated that..." will elicit cries of "Foul!" and massive controversy involving those who only remember that "a" goes before consonants, "an" before vowels. They missed out on the word "sound" in that rule. "A" goes before consonant sounds, "an" before vowel sounds. Whichever you believe, you will likely not be in the room to explain it to a reader who thinks you are wrong.

Instead, write "A report by the SPCA stated..."

One solution for your originally posted problem:

The Dutchman has not done it; neither have the Argentines.

There are many other ways to get the idea across without question.

Best to you,

Goober Dave

Haven't see the forum policies? Do so now: Forum Policies

RE: has or have

The test of what to use is to remove all the unnecessary words in the sentence, still having a sentence, and read iot to your self. The answer becomes obvious.

So, with your example "the Ducthmen nor the Argentines" is not required to make it a sentence, leaving "Neither ... have done it."

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
http://mmcengineering.tripod.com

RE: has or have

==> Then, kindly let us have your opinion about the following examples taken from:
The example in your original post uses a neither/nor construct to connect a singular noun and a plural noun. That construct calls for a plural verb. However in your second post, that is not the case in any of three provided examples. The first example is not a neither/nor (either/or) construct connecting two nouns; it's simply the use of a singular pronoun.

The second and third examples use the (n)either/(n)or construct to connect two singular nouns, not a singular noun with a plural noun. If both nouns being connected are singular, then the pronoun is singular and thus calls for a singular verb. Your second and third examples also highlight how the form of the "to be" depends on which person is being used. But person (first, second, or third) is a completely separate issue from number (singular or plural).

Good Luck
--------------
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: has or have

relax. this is english ... whatever you write, someone will critise it

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