Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Subject-Verb Agreement (5).

Today: Misleading Connectives. The phrases “accompanied by,” “added to,” “along with,” “as well as,” “coupled with,” and “together with” do not affect the grammatical number of the nouns preceding or following them. When such a phrase joins two singular nouns, the singular verb is called for — e.g.: o “For example, he says, America’s declining ability to compete in the global sale of automobiles and other manufactured products, as well as its status as the world’s leading debtor nation, are [read ‘is’] partly the result of the declining cognitive abilities of workers and administrators.” Malcolm W. Browne, “What Is Intelligence, and Who Has It?” N.Y. Times, 16 Oct. 1994, § 7, at 3, 41. o “The absence of crude petroleum and iron ore, coupled with limited indigenous supplies of coal and natural gas, ensures that Japanese industry must import to survive.” Roger Buckley, Japan Today 67 (2d ed. 1990). Similarly, a phrase introduced by the preposition “like,” after a singular subject, does not make the number plural. The following example of misusage in a major airline’s publication may well qualify as one of the worst 11-word sentences ever written: “The room, like he and I [sic], are [read is] a work in progress.” Jim Shahin, “Wired for Weirdness,” Am. Way, 1 Feb. 2003, at 46, 47. A possible revision: “The room is a work in progress, like him and me.” Next: Amounts, “one and one,” and “thing after thing.” For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “We talk of bad and good. Everything, indeed, is good which is conceived with honesty and executed with communicative ardour.” Robert Louis Stevenson, Learning to Write 30 (1888; repr. 1920).
Scroll to Top