Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Noun – pronoun agreement

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Excerpts from the usage 25* module

Noun – pronoun agreement

U Rule 1: Do not use forms of the same pronoun to refer to different antecedents.

Incorrect: The teacher told John that he thought his work was improving.

(Does the teacher think that his own work is improving, or that John's work is improving?)

Correct: John was told by his teacher that his work was improving.

U Rule 2: Place the pronoun as closely as possible to its antecedent, to avoid ambiguity or confusion.

Ambiguous: When Mark spoke to his boss, he was very polite.

Clear: Mark was very polite when he spoke to his boss.

2.1 Rules for subject verb use

Now familiarise yourself with these rules

U Rule 1: Collective nouns, mostly singular in forms, can sometimes be plural requiring plural verb.

The council has unanimously passed the ordinance.

The team have won the match.

Common collective nouns are:

Assembly, board, team, cabinet, class, couple, firm, family, minority, majority, press, public, staff, association

U Rule 2: All, most, none, some can be singular plural depending on the nouns following

They are singular when followed by non-countable nouns and are plural when followed by countable nouns.

Some of my allowance has been spent.

Some of our athletes have been awarded letters.

Half of this report is to be completed by Saturday.

eRemember this while studying tenses

1. Use simple present in conditional clause

You will recover soon if you take your medicines on time.

I shall meet him in his office if he reaches early.

(Conditional clauses begin with if, when, till, until or unless.)

2. Use past perfect in conditional clause, along with ‘would’

I would have spoken to him, if I had recognized him.

3. Along with while (which denotes an ongoing activity) use continuous tense

While I was walking on the road, I saw an accident.

4. Use past perfect to denote the first and completed activity in the past, when an activity that followed is mentioned

We had decorated the house before the guests arrived.
(Here the completed activity is decorated)

The second activity arrived is in simple past.

In Standard English like is used as a preposition with no following verb.

Incorrect: You must do like the manager tells you.

Correct: You must do as the manager tells you.

U 1. Use of ‘not only … but also’

Robinson is not only enterprising but also persevering.

Andre plays not only cricket but also soccer.

Angela not only sings but also writes.

Conjunctions – and, but, either...or, neither...nor, not...only...but also, though, although, either … or

The management has decided either to invite the union for negotiation or to close the factory for an indefinite period till the problems tide over.

The management has decided to solve the problem either through dialogue or through mediation.

U 2. Use of ‘for’ and ‘since’

For as a preposition: There are reasons for the present situation.

For to denote duration of time: I have been waiting for two hours.

For as a conjunction: We have decided to take Alex for the job, for he has prior experience.

Since as a conjunction I could not meet him since I was late to the airport.

Since to indicate duration of time: The Williams family has been living in California since 1985.

For indicates a definite period of time, whereas since expresses the time an action started.

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