Subject Verb agreement rules : Myth of "One of.."
1. One of the X's that/who <plural>
2. One of the X's <singular>
3. Only one of the X's <singular>
4. Only one of the X's that/who <plural>
5. The only one of the X's that/who <singular>
I. If you have just ONE OF THE + PLURAL NOUN + WHO/THAT + ______, and it's NOT "the only one", THEN "____" MUST be a PLURAL VERB. Example: that's one of the birds that fly over my house at night.
here's the rationale, if you care about reasons: the idea is that there is a whole group of NOUNs (whatever they are) that do ______, and we're singling out one of them. notice that the RELATIVE PRONOUN (WHO/THAT) is absolutely crucial here.
II. If that isn't there - i.e., if "one of the NOUNs" is actually the SUBJECT of the ____ verb - then you take a singular verb insteadExample: one of the birds flies over the house; the other one flies past it.
III. Finally, to complicate things further, THE ONLY ONE OF THE + PLURAL NOUN + WHO/THAT + ______ requires a SINGULAR verb for the "_____".
In this case, only one of the NOUNs actually does whatever "_____" refers to, so we stick with the singular verb.Example: marina is the only one of the girls who has ever been to india.The following examples are both correct: (1) he is one of the people who bake special cakes.
(2) he is the only one of the people who bakes special cakes.
This actually isn't as hard as pure memorization might make it seem: all you have to do is think about the LITERAL MEANING of what you're writing.
In my #1, there are lots of people who bake special cakes, so "bake" should be plural.
In my #2, the man in question is the ONLY person who bakes special cakes, so the verb should be singular.
Here's another way to think about it: you can DECONSTRUCT the sentence, and tell exactly which noun / construction the verb "belongs" to. (i have no idea whether this is a formal grammar concept or not, but it works.)
in my #1:
PEOPLE bake cakes. (--> plural "bake")
he is one of them.
(he is not "one who bakes cakes")
in my #2:
there are a bunch of PEOPLE.
he is THE ONE who BAKES cakes. (--> singular "bakes")
(there are not "people who bake cakes")
Hope this helps ! Courtesy : Ron Purewal's explanation on some other forums. I have only recollected these concepts while searching for "one of" SV agreement rules and sharing it here for the benefit of all GC members.