IN A MANNER THAT ALLOW–Subject/verb agreement again!

The Jefferson County, Alabama, tale of financial woe continues, and the grammar in one auditor's letter needs an overhaul as well.  Take a look at this quoted portion of a sentence regarding the need for improvement in the county's financial controls:

"people, processes or systems were not operating in a manner that allow the Commission to prepare financial statements in accordance with U. S. generally accepted accounting principles."

Whoops! The subject of ALLOW is not PEOPLE, PROCESSES OR SYSTEMS (plural), it is MANNER (singular). Therefore, the verb should be ALLOW (singular) except that the first part of the quotation uses WERE, which is past tense, so the verb probably should be changed to WOULD ALLOW.

The auditor does not use ellipsis correctly either. His quote does not begin at the beginning of a sentence. (This is clear because the quotation begins with a lower case letter.) Therefore, he should have placed an ellipsis (three dots) at the beginning of the quotation.

Finally, I think this quotation would read more smoothly if the words GENERALLY ACCEPTED came before U.S.

Here is my suggested revision for this sentence:

"…people, processes or systems were not operating in a manner that would allow the Commission to prepare financial statements in accordance with generally accepted U. S. accounting principles."

 

NOTE: Would you like to learn more about effective proofreading techniques like the ones described above? Check the calendar at www.ruthbeaumontcook.com and sign up for my open enrollment class on Grammar and Proofreading.  Auburn University Montgomery is offering it on April 27.


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