Speak good English - Get it correct

BY: Junior Graphic

We are continuing with our discussion on the objective questions I gave you to look at four weeks ago.

So far, we have discussed the answers for questions 1 to 4 and showed why those answers are the correct ones.

As you might have noticed, questions 2, 3 and 4 had to do with pronouns --- whether to choose the objective case  or the subjective case of a pronoun.

We will find time to revisit this whole idea of pronouns some other time to make the use of pronouns clearer to you.
For now, let's go back to our questions and the correct answers to them.
5. Our teacher, together with his friends, — at the party.
a) are  b) were  c) is  d) be

This question is on concord — subject-verb agreement —  and it concerns one of the most confusing aspects of the topic.
Basically, concord says if we write a sentence in the present tense, the subject of that sentence (that is, the thing, person, idea, etc. that the sentence talks about) must agree with the verb in that sentence in terms of the number (whether singular or plural) and the person (whether first, second or third person) of the subject.

Simply put, concord says if the subject of a sentence is singular (that is, one or less than one), then it must agree with a singular verb.

On the other hand, if the subject is plural (that is, more than one), then it must agree with a plural verb.

At the same time, concord says if the subject of a sentence is in the first or the second person,  that subject must agree with a plural verb.

Egs:
I go to school every week day.
You go to school every week day.
But if the subject is in the third person, then it must agree with a singular verb.

Egs:
He goes to school every week day.
She goes to school every week day.
Now, we can have two different persons, things, ideas, etc together forming the subject of a sentence, as in:
Kofi and Mercy
The boy and the girl
Mr Tackie and his wife
Maths and Physics

Now, concord says only the conjunction AND can join two separate items or persons to make them plural,  and that no other conjunction can do that.

In question 5, OUR TEACHER is not joined to FRIENDS by the conjunction AND and, therefore, we cannot have a plural subject which will make us go for a plural verb.

It means the subject of that sentence is OUR TEACHER,  singular, so the correct answer is c) — is.

(To be continued.)