Common mistakes in English – 3
We continue with our series on common mistakes in English. In this part, we will mainly focus on mixed doubles. Sometimes, you may have found yourself confused whether to use singular verb with words like everybody, crowd, etc., or not? Or whether to use neither without nor, either without or, and so on? So here, we try to answer such questions:
Beware of mixed doubles
1. Words such as everybody, nobody, either, neither are followed by a singular verb, for example, Everybody has his good qualities.
Note: The possessive adjective (his) in the above sentence is also singular.
2. When using expressions like ‘sort of’ and ‘kinds of’, make sure you have them either all in the singular or all in the plural. Examples,
- This sort of movie interests me.
- I do not like those kinds of movies (it is incorrect to say – those kind of movies).
- Depending on the sense in which they are being used, words like crowd, number, company, enemy can take either a singular or a plural verb. Example:
- The number of casualties is high.
- A number of people were involved in the attack.
- The crowd was moving towards us (sense of one vast mob).
- The crowd were shouting anti-government slogans (sense of many people).
- A singular verb follows two or more subjects joined by ‘and’ representing a single idea, example – Eggs and bacon is the favourite English breakfast.
- Most words ending in -ics such as mathematics, physics, politics are treated as singular. Example, Politics is a tricky career.
Can you think of more such mistakes? Well, send them across and we will keep on updating the list.
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