Exercise 3: Agreement When Words Come Between (Interrupt) the Noun and Verb

Choose the correct verb form from the two in the parentheses.

Question 1

The survey showed that the highest percentage of adults, especially those who are in their forties and fifties, (IS / ARE) now less confident of keeping their jobs.

IS

Correct!

"Is" is correct. "Percentage" is the noun with which the verb must agree. "Percentage" is singular and requires the singular form of this irregular verb. Don't get tricked by the words that come between the noun and verb--the verb does NOT have to agree with "adults."

The survey showed that the highest percentage of adults, especially those who are in their forties and fifties, is now less confident of keeping their jobs.

ARE

Incorrect.

"Is" is correct. "Percentage" is the noun with which the verb must agree. "Percentage" is singular and requires the singular form of this irregular verb. Don't get tricked by the words that come between the noun and verb--the verb does NOT have to agree with "adults."

The survey showed that the highest percentage of adults, especially those who are in their forties and fifties, is now less confident of keeping their jobs.

Question 2

Many companies to which a former generation devoted its working life (IS /ARE) now downsizing.

IS

Incorrect.

"Are" is correct. "Companies" is the noun with which the verb must agree. "Companies" is plural and requires the plural form of this irregular verb. Don't get tricked by the words that come between the noun and the verb--the verb does NOT have to agree with "life."

Many companies to which a former generation devoted its working life are now downsizing.

ARE

Correct!

"Are" is correct. "Companies" is the noun with which the verb must agree. "Companies" is plural and requires the plural form of this irregular verb. Don't get tricked by the words that come between the noun and the verb--the verb does NOT have to agree with "life."

Many companies to which a former generation devoted its working life are now downsizing.

Question 3

In the shift from manufacturing to service industries that the job force has experienced, the majority of workers (SEEMS / SEEM) to have shifted as well from experiencing relative security to experiencing insecurity.

SEEMS

Correct!

"Seems" is correct. Yes, it sounds odd at first, but "majority" is singular since it functions as a collective noun (the members of the group become one unit). "Majority" requires a verb that agrees with a singular noun. Don't get tricked by the words that come between the noun and the verb--the verb does NOT have to agree with "workers."

In the shift from manufacturing to service industries that the job force has experienced, the majority of workers seems to have shifted as well from experiencing relative security to experiencing insecurity.

SEEM

Incorrect.

"Seems" is correct. Yes, it sounds odd at first, but "majority" is singular since it functions as a collective noun (the members of the group become one unit). "Majority" requires a verb that agrees with a singular noun. Don't get tricked by the words that come between the noun and the verb--the verb does NOT have to agree with "workers."

In the shift from manufacturing to service industries that the job force has experienced, the majority of workers seems to have shifted as well from experiencing relative security to experiencing insecurity.

Question 4

High levels of worker turnover (CAUSE / CAUSES) large companies to institute better training programs and benefits to try to retain workers.

CAUSE

Correct!

"Cause" is correct. "Levels" is the noun with which the verb must agree. "Levels" is plural and, to agree with a plural subject, a regular, present-tense verb needs no ending.

High levels of worker turnover cause large companies to institute better training programs and benefits to try to retain workers.

CAUSES

Incorrect.

"Cause" is correct. "Levels" is the noun with which the verb must agree. "Levels" is plural and, to agree with a plural subject, a regular, present-tense verb needs no ending.

High levels of worker turnover cause large companies to institute better training programs and benefits to try to retain workers.

Question 5

The president of the savings and loan company, as well as his vice president and treasurer, (WAS/WERE) indicted for fraud.

Was

Correct.

"Was" is correct. "President," the subject of the sentence, is the only noun with which the verb must agree. Remember to disregard the words that come between (interrupt) the main noun and verb of the sentence. "President" is singular, so you need the form of the irregular verb that agrees with a singular noun.

"The president of the savings and loan company, as well as his vice president and treasurer, was indicted for fraud."

were

Incorrect.

"Were" is incorrect. "Was" is correct. "President," the subject of the sentence, is the only noun with which the verb must agree. Remember to disregard the words that come between (interrupt) the main noun and verb of the sentence. "President" is singular, so you need the form of the irregular verb that agrees with a singular noun.

"The president of the savings and loan company, as well as his vice president and treasurer, was indicted for fraud."

 

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