I think it should be "represents". What do you think?


I've seen a text whose first paragraph is this one below. At its very end, there is the word "represent" (I capitalised it). I think it should be "represents". What do you think?



Economists are not sure how to fully explain the growing inequality in America. The ordinary dynamics of supply and demand have certainly played a role: laborsaving technologies have reduced the demand for many "good" middle-class, blue-collar jobs. Globalization has created a worldwide marketplace, pitting expensive unskilled workers in America against cheap unskilled workers overseas. Social changes have also played a role--for instance, the decline of unions, which once represented a third of American workers and now REPRESENT about 12 percent.

asked Aug 04 '11 at 12:15 Frederik de Klerk New member

2 answers


Dear Frederik,


I think that REPRESENT is a correct form, because this werb is related to the word UNIONS, which is a plural so you don't need to add an S at the end of it.


Hope this was helpful :)

link comment answered Aug 04 '11 at 13:59 Tamara Tomic New member

Neither. The subject would be "decline" not "unions" since unions is the object of the preposition "of." Therefore, if we look at purely the subject and verb, the sentence would be--the decline represents about 12 percent. That would be grammatically correct but unfortunately, it does not make sense according to the content of the sentence. The author wants you to think "the union represents about 12 percent." Therefore, the subject and verb agreement do not match. In order for it to be correct in every way, it would have to be changed to--Social changes have also played a role; for instance, the union, which once represented a third of American workers now represents about 12 percent.


Confusing yes, but I hope this helps.

link answered Aug 04 '11 at 14:18 Susan New member

I agree it would be best to rewrite the whole sentence, but if it has to remain as it is, writing REPRESNTS instead of REPRESENT would only make it even more confusing. So there are basically two choices: to be grammatically incorrect or to make no sense at all :) Tamara TomicAug 04 '11 at 17:25

Agreed! :-) SusanAug 09 '11 at 13:28

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