Subject-verb agreement is one of the fundamental rules of grammar that is essential to make a sentence coherent and understandable. It is crucial to ensure that the subject and verb in a sentence are in agreement to convey the intended meaning accurately. One of the areas where confusion often arises in subject-verb agreement is the use of “either of.”
“Either of” is a phrase that is commonly used to indicate a choice between two options. However, when it comes to subject-verb agreement, it can pose a challenge for even experienced writers and copy editors.
The rule for subject-verb agreement with “either of” is that the verb should agree with the noun closest to it. For example, consider the following sentences:
1. Either of the boys is going to the party.
2. Either of the boys are going to the party.
In the first sentence, the singular noun “boys” is closest to the verb “is,” so the correct verb form is “is.” In the second sentence, the plural noun “boys” is closest to the verb “are,” so the correct verb form is “are.”
It is important to note that “either” is always singular, so the verb should always be in the singular form if it is used with “either of.” For example:
1. Either of the cats is sleeping on the bed.
2. Either of the cats are sleeping on the bed.
In the first sentence, the singular verb “is” agrees with the singular noun “cats.” In the second sentence, the plural verb “are” does not agree with the singular noun “cats.”
Using the correct subject-verb agreement with “either of” is important to ensure that the intended meaning of the sentence is conveyed accurately. It may seem like a minor detail, but it can have a significant impact on the clarity and professionalism of your writing.
In summary, when using “either of,” it is essential to remember that the verb should agree with the noun closest to it. Additionally, “either” is always singular, so the verb should always be in the singular form. By following these rules, you can ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and grammatically correct.