Thursday, October 18, 2007

S-V Agreement: Everyone and Every

I'm flying to Cebu tomorrow and will be back late Sunday night. I may not be able to post while I'm there so my next entry might be on Monday. Have a good weekend!

As I've been saying in my previous posts on subject-verb agreement, the only way to get around this confusing area of English is to memorize the rules. Here is a post on another s-v agreement rule: when using the words every, everyone, and everything, the verb that follows is singular. Consider these examples: "Every student has to take the test," "Everyone is joining the field trip," "Everything is a mess right now."

I understand why the use of the singular is confusing where these words are concerned. These words, after all, talk about more than one person or thing. When we say everyone, we are talking about more than one person. In this instance, unfortunately, English is not very helpful at explaining the reason for the rule. I just think we use the singular because we are referring to the individual persons or things that are referred to by everyone or everything.

If this confuses you, remember the title of the well-reviewed book, Everything IS Illuminated.

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