Two New Agreement Glitches

If you visit this blog regularly, you know that subject/verb agreement and pronoun/antecedent agreement are among my pet peeves.  I have recent examples of each to share with you today. First, this sentence from an article by Barnett Wright for al.com:

The relationship between Sewell and some commissioners have been strained.

Whoops #1: The word RELATIONSHIP is singular. It is the subject of the sentence.  COMMISSIONERS, which is plural, is the object of the preposition BETWEEN and has nothing to do with the subject/verb connection. The verb should be HAS. The sentence should read this way:

The relationship between Sewell and some commissioners has been strained.

 

Second, this sentence from an article by Kent Faulk for al.com about abortion clinic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph:

Besides the fact that Rudolph had agreed in his plea deal, federal officials also have said that it is illegal for a criminal to profit from their actions.

Whoops #2: Rudolph is A CRIMINAL (singular), so unless he has an accomplice helping him write his autobiography (which he does not), the pronoun THEIR (plural) is incorrect. It should be HIS (singular). The sentence should read this way:

Besides the fact that Rudolph had agreed in his plea deal, federal officials also have said that it is illegal for a criminal to profit from his actions.

NOTE: For those who are uncomfortable using HIS to refer to CRIMINAL (because it suggests the exclusion of female criminals), simply change that part of the sentence to the plural and write it this way:

Besides the fact that Rudolph had agreed in his plea deal, federal officials also have said that it is illegal for criminals to profit from their actions.


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