Singular or Plural? "Contact one of our ___ who ___, John Doe.

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I'm confused. Which is the correct form of the verb in this sentence:

Contact one of our members who [specialises, specialise] in archery, John Doe.

It's like:

Contact John Doe, one of our members who [specialises, specialise] in archery.

Does the adjective phrase refer to "one of our members" or "members"? Or are both forms correct in this case because they can be correctly interpreted either way?

asked May 26 at 06:34 Sandy New member

4 answers


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The verb specialise has to agree with the pronoun who because that is the subject of that clause.  To determine whether who is singular or plural, you have to look at the noun it is standing in for.  That is one, which is definitely singular.  "Of our members" is a prepositional phrase that tells you what kind of one.

 

Contact John Doe, one of our members who specializes in archery.

 

 If you aren't convinced, delete "one of our members" from the sentence.

Contact John Doe who specializes in archery.

link comment answered May 26 at 10:04 Patty T Grammarly Fellow
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Karen,

 

"S" is use in place of "z" for some English words in Australia (i.e.  they follow British English instead of American).

 

Patty,

 

I actually had the same opinion as you do. But my English Major sister confirmed that it should take a plural form because it modifies "lawyers" (not "one of our lawyers"). So I am really confused and will probably resort to just reformatting the entire sentence to get away from the vagueness.

 

Thanks everyone.

link answered May 27 at 00:48 Sandy New member

I'll assume that you were looking at a different sentence about lawyers instead of the sentence about members. ;-) I still have to (probably) disagree with your sister. If the organization has separate categories of members, say "members who specialise in archery" and "members who specialise in bowling," I would agree. Then, the antecedent of "who" is "members". I just have the feeling that this sentence is not saying, "Talk to John. He is in the Members Who Specialise in Archery group." In the end, I think the advice you give to yourself is best. Just reword it! Contact our member John Doe who specializes in archery.

Patty TMay 27 at 01:37

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oops! I mistakenly assumed that we were helping with English grammar. Thanks for pointing that out, Patty. I don't think that I should have been deducted 4 points for trying to help out though.   :(

link comment answered Jun 05 at 20:33 Karen OKeefe Contributor
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...and make sure you use the correct spelling -- 'specialize' is spelled with a 'z' not an 's'. It's a common mistake.

 

Cheers!

 

'ding'

link answered May 26 at 20:30 Karen OKeefe Contributor

Most of the world uses BrE, not AmE, Karen. I purposely used the same spelling as the user, assuming she must not be in the US. I inadvertently spelled it with a z the second time because that is how I am used to spelling the word.

Patty TMay 27 at 01:14

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