MET workshop: grammar pathway minisession

Subject–verb agreement: overcoming the stumbling blocks

Facilitator: Tom O’Boyle

Whether to use a singular or plural verb in a range of structures is a dilemma translators and editors working with English often face. Are words like jury, government and police singular or plural?  Should the verb following negative subject pronouns like no one or none be singular or plural? What about nouns combined with words like either and neither? The problem is complicated by the principles of grammatical agreement, notional agreement and proximity.
This workshop addresses the area of subject–verb agreement. Through an examination of the underlying grammatical assumptions, participants will be able to draw on a set of principles and procedures to make informed decisions when choosing between a singular and plural verb. Emphasis will be placed on the specific difficulties posed by complex sentences, collective nouns, coordinating conjunctions and measures of quantity.

About the facilitator: Tom O’Boyle is a freelance translator, authors’ editor and medical writer based in Valdemoro, near Madrid. His MA, from the University of Salford, is in Translating and Interpreting.