“Ladies happens”…”cash balances lags”…”gas prices pushes”…Agreement epidemic continues.

The subject/verb agreement virus struck again with vengeance this week. I will share three examples from among those I spotted. The first appeared in this online Associated Press headline on April 14:

Rising gas prices pushes wholesale costs higher

Whoops! I clicked to the story itself to see if the online headline was just a momentary glitch, but the story headline contained the same error.  The subject of this sentence is PRICES, not GAS.  Therefore, the verb should be plural, which is PUSH rather than PUSHES. The headline should read this way:

Rising gas prices push wholesale costs higher

The second example appeared in a Business section news story by Birmingham News staff writer Russell Hubbard who created this sentence:

The cash balances at metro-area companies lags  that  of the country's largest publicly traded corporations, some of which hold tens of billions.

Whoops again! The subject of this sentence is BALANCES, not CASH. Therefore, because BALANCES is plural, the verb should be LAG, which is plural. There is also a problem with the pronoun THAT, which is singular. It is supposed to refer back to BALANCES, not CASH, so the correct pronoun choice is THOSE, which is plural. Here is the correction:

 The cash balances at metro-area companies lag  those  of the country's largest publicly traded corporatiions, some of which hold tens of billions  .

The final example appears in Alene Gamel's "Weddings 911" column in a discussion about the difference between a bridal shower and a bridal tea:

If there happens to be a few ladies who are invited to both a shower and the tea, it will not be a major faux pas.

Whoops for the third time! As I have mentioned in previous posts, when the word THERE appears before the verb, the actual subject (in this case, LADIES) comes after the verb. LADIES is plural. Therefore, the verb should be HAPPEN, which is also plural.

I don't object to using THERE as a sentence construct, but I don't believe it is the best choice in this sentence. I would simply put it this way (with the plural verb ARE):

If a few ladies are invited to both a shower and the tea, it will not be a major faux pas.

That seems much simpler and more direct to me.


Tags: , , ,

3 Responses to ““Ladies happens”…”cash balances lags”…”gas prices pushes”…Agreement epidemic continues.”

  1. Hey, this could really be something that people would like to see and read.

  2. This is one awesome blog.Really thank you! Cool.

  3. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as smartly as with the layout in your blog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great weblog like this one nowadays..

Leave a Reply