Great Building Renovation, Not So Great Grammar

 The Birmingham News Sunday edition carried an interesting article this week about the ongoing restoration project at the Lyric Theater.The article offered interesting tidbits about the heyday of the theater back in the 1920s and about the efforts to restore its former glory.

Something else needs restoration, and that is the News reporter's understanding of subject/verb agreement. Two sentences in this article use verbs incorrectly with their subjects.  Here is the first:

 

On the building's exterior, the only visible evidence of the restoration are the original signs in front of the lobby, and high above the street on the 18th Street side.

 

     Whoops! The subject of this sentence is EVIDENCE (singular), so the verb should be IS. SIGNS (plural) comes after the verb, so the verb should agree with EVIDENCE. The sentence should read this way:     

On the building's exterior, the only visible evidence of the restoration is the original signs in front of the lobby, and high above the street on the 18th Street side.

 

 The second agreement problem involves a sentence with reverse word order:

 

 After that comes the balconies, then the offices, which could provide additional rental revenue.

          WhWWWh    

Whoops again! The subject of this sentence is BALCONIES, not THAT (object of the preposition AFTER), so the verb should be COME (plural, without the S). This sentence should read as follows:

 

After that come the balconies, then the offices, which could provide additional rental revenue.

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: For both reporter and reader, it might be simpler to reorganize this sentence to read:

The balconies come after that, and then the offices, which could provide additional rental revenue.

 

I wish Glenny Brock and her team great success in restoring this important facet of Birmingham history, including the flooring that is constructed of Sylcauga marble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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