Wednesday, November 21, 2007

S-V Agreement: A Lot Of

Sometimes, it can be messy to figure out the verb that goes with expressions like a lot of or a/the majority of. These phrases indicate a quantity without mentioning the exact number. For example, "a lot of students," "a majority of teachers." In both cases, the verb to be used is plural: "a lot of students were" and "the majority of teachers are."

I think people sometimes use the singular verb because a lot of and the majority of sound like collective nouns, hence, the possibility of using the singular. However, the verb is plural because the noun attached to the expression is plural. "Students" and "teachers" are both examples of plural nouns.

I hope a lot of people are reading me.

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