Eccentric Agreement: A Grammar Mystery Worth Exploring
As a copy editor, you may come across some tricky grammar concepts and eccentric agreement is one of them. It refers to an unusual type of agreement where the verb in a sentence agrees with the subject closest to it, even if that subject is not the main subject of the sentence. This may sound peculiar, but it is a grammatically correct usage that can be seen in various forms of writing such as novels, articles, and news reports.
Let`s take a look at some examples:
1) The manager, along with his team, is attending the conference.
2) The girls, not the boys, are excited about the upcoming tournament.
In the first sentence, the main subject is „manager“ while „his team“ is the secondary subject. However, the verb „is“ agrees with the subject closest to it, which is „team“. This form of agreement is known as „notional agreement“ because it is based on the idea or notion of the sentence.
In the second sentence, the main subject is „girls“ while „boys“ is the secondary subject. Again, the verb „are“ agrees with the subject closest to it, which is „girls“.
Eccentric agreement is often used to avoid sounding awkward or unclear. If the verb agreed with the main subject in these sentences, it would be incorrect or confusing. For example, „The manager, along with his team, are attending the conference“ would sound incorrect to many readers.
It`s worth noting that eccentric agreement is not always necessary or recommended. In simpler sentences, it`s best to use conventional agreement where the verb agrees with the main subject. For example, „The dog barks“ and „The birds sing“ both use conventional agreement.
In conclusion, eccentric agreement is a grammatically correct concept that can be used to avoid ambiguity or awkwardness in certain sentences. As a copy editor, it`s important to be aware of this usage and to use it appropriately when necessary.