Verb usage

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In the sentence "Neither the council members nor the mayor supports the new parking restrictions." Why is "supports" the correct verb to use?

verb rules asked Jul 11 '13 at 21:31 Bryant New member

2 answers


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According to the Chicago Manual of Style, in a sentence with more than one subject, the subject that is closest to the verb determines the form of the verb:

Neither the council members nor the mayor supports the new parking restrictions.

Neither the mayor nor the council members support the new parking restrictions

 

If you believe that the plural form sounds better, Chicago suggests arranging the sentence so that a plural noun is closer to the verb than a singular noun.

link comment answered Jul 12 '13 at 11:00 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow
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While technically correct, I believe the sentence would be more readable if both subjects and the verb agreed in number:  Neither the mayor nor the council supports the new parking restrictions.

link comment answered Jul 13 '13 at 06:50 Jeffrey Brown New member

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