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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 19th, 2006, 04:56 am
aldalu
 
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Default subject-verb agreement

Do we say "There is a dog and a cat in the picture." or
"There are a dog and a cat in the picture."
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 19th, 2006, 10:12 am
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Default Re: subject-verb agreement

Hi Aldalu - as soon as I saw the question I knew you were in Italy! We say There is .... The verb in the expression There + BE usually agrees with the first noun, regardless of what comes later. It's a common Italian mistake because Italian is different - you would have to say ci sono (there are) and not c'(there is).
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 11th, 2009, 01:32 pm
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Default Re: subject-verb agreement

You will say "There ARE a dog and a cat .... " as using and creates compound plural subject and ARE should be the verb for the plural subject dog and a cat here.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 11th, 2009, 02:31 pm
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Default Re: subject-verb agreement

I don't think anyone would say "There are a dog and a cat." That sounds very awkward. It would be "There is a dog and a cat." or "There's a dog and a cat."
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 11th, 2009, 04:49 pm
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Default Re: subject-verb agreement

thanks for your reply, susan, that one was bothering me too!
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Unread Aug 11th, 2009, 11:04 pm
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Default Re: subject-verb agreement

I was referring the rule from Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction book which has to say this on the matter:

The word and can unite two or more singular subjects, forming a compound plural subject. For example:

Joe and his friends ARE going to the beach.

Mathematics, history and science ARE required high school subjects.

Thumb rule is if the subject is plural, verb has to be plural. Here the subject dog and a cat is plural, hence verb has to be plural.
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Unread Aug 11th, 2009, 11:50 pm
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Default Re: subject-verb agreement

Hello,

You have your sources, and I won't argue with you there. I still feel it sounds awkward to say, "There ARE a dog and a cat .... ". This may be an area where the average English speaker uses the incorrect grammar. I learned Spanish at a later age. I teach Spanish at the college level. Every semester I'll have a native speaker in the class and he/she will tell me a certain sentence I use just doesn't sound right. I will show this person the formal rule that I am using and we agree to disagree. I think we have the same situation here. Ask another native English speaker what he thinks. I think you will find that most will agree with me, that an English speaker wouldn't say that sentence the way you have it written. I could be wrong, and that is fine. That's why I love these conversations! Tell me what you think.
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Unread Aug 12th, 2009, 03:52 am
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Default Re: subject-verb agreement

I am afraid saying "just doesn't sound right" is not a good enough reason to present your case. The sentence must conform to the rules of the english grammar. There are times the subject and the verb are flipped to confuse users.

Let me ask you a question:

"There is a young man and an older woman at the bus stop."

Is this grammatically correct or wrong ?
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 12th, 2009, 06:06 am
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Default Re: subject-verb agreement

I'd suggest you all to trust susan53 lol
she's the knowledgeable one
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Unread Aug 12th, 2009, 06:07 am
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Default Re: subject-verb agreement

Quote:
Quote karnvivek View Post
I am afraid saying "just doesn't sound right" is not a good enough reason to present your case. The sentence must conform to the rules of the english grammar. There are times the subject and the verb are flipped to confuse users.

Let me ask you a question:

"There is a young man and an older woman at the bus stop."

Is this grammatically correct or wrong ?

but you have the explanation given above. judging by the rule, it's perfectly ok
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  #11 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 12th, 2009, 01:14 pm
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Default Re: subject-verb agreement

That's what I was thinking too. Susan states, "The verb in the expression There + BE usually agrees with the first noun, regardless of what comes later." The sentence you wrote, ""There is a young man and an older woman at the bus stop." is grammatically correct for that same reason Susan gives. I agree with Beatrix. Susan is the knowledgeable one!
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  #12 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 19th, 2010, 08:14 pm
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Default Re: subject-verb agreement

- There is a dog and a cat in the picture.
- There are a dog and a cat in the picture.

I certainly would opt for the first.
Here is my reference: Learning English | BBC World Service

Similar thread: There "is" / "are" a lot of...
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