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Most questions in the Sentence Error Identification part of the Civil Service Exam will include those which make use of correlative conjunctions “Neither – Nor” and “Either – Or”.
RULE: In sentences with ‘Neither-Nor’ or ‘Either-Or’, or just ‘Or’ or ‘Nor’, remember that if both the subjects are singular, the verb must be singular. If both are plural, then the verb is plural.
Does a singular collective noun take a singular or plural verb? It depends.
Rule: Use a singular verb for a collective noun if the noun is acting as one unit. If the members of the collective noun do not agree or are acting differently from each other, use a plural verb.
First things first, what is a Collective Noun? A collective noun is a word for a group of specific items, animals or people.
Here are some examples of collective nouns:
armada company clan caravan
school thicket den flock
nest sounder platoon sloth
swarm yoke lodge committee
class jury audience army
council family group team
Here are some examples on how the rule works:
- The flute ensemble are tuning their instruments.
- The flute ensemble is playing at the Kiwanis Music Festival.
- The pack of dogs were running off in different directions.
- The pack of dogs is chasing after that poor deer.
- The townsfolk cheers the hometown little league.
- The troop disappear in different directions.
- Every afternoon, the baseball team goes out to the field for practice.
- The jury disagree about the guilt of the accused and are at lost for a final decision.