Subject/verb agreement when in a prepositional phrase : Ask GMAT Experts
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# Subject/verb agreement when in a prepositional phrase

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Subject/verb agreement when in a prepositional phrase [#permalink]

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23 Oct 2011, 08:07
"I've had one of many teachers who was/were awesome."

I'm still struggling with this because 99% of what I've seen just crosses out the prep phrase to determine the verb (also championed by MGMAT SC p.37/38) , but recently I've found this "one of" form with a plural verb. How do you determine plurality or singularity of the verb coming after a prepositional phrase?
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Re: Subject/verb agreement when in a prepositional phrase [#permalink]

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23 Oct 2011, 09:32
stringworm wrote:
"I've had one of many teachers who was/were awesome."

I'm still struggling with this because 99% of what I've seen just crosses out the prep phrase to determine the verb (also championed by MGMAT SC p.37/38) , but recently I've found this "one of" form with a plural verb. How do you determine plurality or singularity of the verb coming after a prepositional phrase?

one of many teachers who was awesome - Here ' one of ' refers to a single teacher who stands out from the group of many teachers. Here 'one of ' is singular/

I've had one of many teachers who were awesome - means there are many teachers who were handsome and the subject " I " had one of them !

So, its the use of " One Of " that decides the singular or plural.

'One of' - is not a prepositional phrase , since its not starting with a preposition but rather a number !

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Re: Subject/verb agreement when in a prepositional phrase [#permalink]

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23 Oct 2011, 11:26
Thank you very much for responding, but I must respectfully disagree. I think it falls under the category of "Idiomatic expressions that designate quantities or parts." MGMAT SC guide p. 41 states "Idiomatic expressions that designate quantities or parts, such as a number of, the subject of the sentence is in an Of-prepositional phrase. These expressions provide the exception to the rule that the subject cannot be in a prepositional phrase."

Both of the following are correct:

One-third of the city is unemployed.
One-third of the people are unemployed.

And most importantly from a retired official test:

In an effort improve the quality of patient care, Dr. Lydia Temoscho is directing one of several clinical research projects that seek to determine the extent that psychological counseling helps to supplement the medical treatment of serious disease.
(A) seek to determine the extent that psychological counseling helps to supplement
(B) seek to determine how helpful psychological counseling is in supplementing
(C) seeks to determine how helpful psychological counseling is to supplement
(D) seeks to determine to what extent psychological counseling is a help in supplementing
(E) seeks to determine the extent that psychological counseling is helpful in supplementing

OA=B

Please let me know if you disagree.
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Re: Subject/verb agreement when in a prepositional phrase [#permalink]

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24 Oct 2011, 08:14
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stringworm wrote:
Thank you very much for responding, but I must respectfully disagree. I think it falls under the category of "Idiomatic expressions that designate quantities or parts." MGMAT SC guide p. 41 states "Idiomatic expressions that designate quantities or parts, such as a number of, the subject of the sentence is in an Of-prepositional phrase. These expressions provide the exception to the rule that the subject cannot be in a prepositional phrase."

Both of the following are correct:

One-third of the city is unemployed.
One-third of the people are unemployed.

And most importantly from a retired official test:

In an effort improve the quality of patient care, Dr. Lydia Temoscho is directing one of several clinical research projects that seek to determine the extent that psychological counseling helps to supplement the medical treatment of serious disease.
(A) seek to determine the extent that psychological counseling helps to supplement
(B) seek to determine how helpful psychological counseling is in supplementing
(C) seeks to determine how helpful psychological counseling is to supplement
(D) seeks to determine to what extent psychological counseling is a help in supplementing
(E) seeks to determine the extent that psychological counseling is helpful in supplementing

OA=B

Please let me know if you disagree.

That's right. You should be focusing on the keyword: WHO - which implies further description of the second half of the phrase TEACHERS.

"One of many teachers WHO WERE"

Teachers is plural so you use WERE.
"one of many teachers who were awesome"

On the other hand, if you didn't use the word WHO there, you could focus on the SINGULAR part by saying:

Only one of the 5 teachers was awesome.
or
Only 1 of the 5,000 people who applied was awarded a scholarship.

In the above example, "one of several projects that SEEK"

Here PROJECTS is further described - and since PROJECTS is plural, you use SEEK.

BUT--if you wanted to talk about that one particular project, you would say:

"Only one of the several projects submitted was actually chosen."

Hope that helps!
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Re: Subject/verb agreement when in a prepositional phrase [#permalink]

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04 Nov 2011, 05:55
gmatpill wrote:
stringworm wrote:
Thank you very much for responding, but I must respectfully disagree. I think it falls under the category of "Idiomatic expressions that designate quantities or parts." MGMAT SC guide p. 41 states "Idiomatic expressions that designate quantities or parts, such as a number of, the subject of the sentence is in an Of-prepositional phrase. These expressions provide the exception to the rule that the subject cannot be in a prepositional phrase."

Both of the following are correct:

One-third of the city is unemployed.
One-third of the people are unemployed.

And most importantly from a retired official test:

In an effort improve the quality of patient care, Dr. Lydia Temoscho is directing one of several clinical research projects that seek to determine the extent that psychological counseling helps to supplement the medical treatment of serious disease.
(A) seek to determine the extent that psychological counseling helps to supplement
(B) seek to determine how helpful psychological counseling is in supplementing
(C) seeks to determine how helpful psychological counseling is to supplement
(D) seeks to determine to what extent psychological counseling is a help in supplementing
(E) seeks to determine the extent that psychological counseling is helpful in supplementing

OA=B

Please let me know if you disagree.

That's right. You should be focusing on the keyword: WHO - which implies further description of the second half of the phrase TEACHERS.

"One of many teachers WHO WERE"

Teachers is plural so you use WERE.
"one of many teachers who were awesome"

On the other hand, if you didn't use the word WHO there, you could focus on the SINGULAR part by saying:

Only one of the 5 teachers was awesome.
or
Only 1 of the 5,000 people who applied was awarded a scholarship.

In the above example, "one of several projects that SEEK"

Here PROJECTS is further described - and since PROJECTS is plural, you use SEEK.

BUT--if you wanted to talk about that one particular project, you would say:

"Only one of the several projects submitted was actually chosen."

Hope that helps!

That was really a good explanation.Lucid and up to the point. thanks zeke.
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Re: Subject/verb agreement when in a prepositional phrase   [#permalink] 04 Nov 2011, 05:55
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