Speak good English: How to use AND

Speak good English: How to use AND

Last week I gave out some questions to determine whether or not you understood the topics we had gone through over the past year or so.

Now, let's see how you fared in that exercise. Note that whether you had all your answers correct or not, we are all still learning.


We said sentence 1 is incorrect because the subject preparations does not agree with the verb is — while preparations is plural, the verb is singular.

The correct sentence should be:

Preparations towards the upcoming trip to the UK are on course.

Issues concerning education and health must be addressed well by governments because it is important for the citizenry.

This sentence is incorrect because, like the first sentence, the subject is issues, which is plural, but both the pronoun it and the verb is are singular and so they don't agree with the subject.

The correct sentence is: Issues concerning education and health....because they are important to the citizenry.

A book and calculator have been stolen from my school bag.

This is another incorrect sentence.

Here, the subject, a book and calculator, is supposed to be plural, hence the use of the plural verb have.

But as the subject is written:

a book and calculator, it is grammatically singular because the second item, calculator, is not preceeded by an article as the first one, book, is.

To make the subject plural, the item calculator must be preceeded by the indefinite article a, so that we have:

A book and a calculator have been stolen from my school bag.

Let's understand that the expressions:

my father and mother

a man and woman

the teacher and student

your brother and sister

his friend and brother our gate man and neighbour

the doctor and nurse

a preacher and organist

are all grammatically singular, not plural, and so if we make them agree with plural verbs, it is incorrect, as in:

A preacher and organist are among the delegation from Accra.

The doctor and nurse have come to see the sick man.

If we want the expressions to be grammatically plural, then we must precede each second item with an article or a determiner, as in:

your brother and your/my sister the teacher and his/the/a student

Egs: The teacher and a student are involved in the issue.


My mother and my/your/her father have gone to the school.



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