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Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing

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Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing density, allows for more open space in areas where little water or services exist.


(A) little water or services exist

(B) little water or services exists

(C) few services and little water exists

(D) there is little water or services available

(E) there are few services and little available water


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 246: Sentence Correction


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Guys, can we sort out the above question?
I have no clue at this stage; would appreciate explanations.

Originally posted by seofah on 14 Jul 2007, 02:08.
Last edited by Bunuel on 05 Oct 2018, 06:04, edited 2 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2018, 03:44
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Two things jump out at me right away, as we discussed in this YouTube video on sentence correction priorities. First, there seems to be a subject-verb agreement thing going on: we have “exists” and “exist”, and then “there is” and “there are.” Looks like we’ll get some cheap eliminations from this stuff.

And then there’s the modifier “little.” It’s a funny one. If it’s used to modify a countable noun (“dogs” or “doughnuts”, for example), it refers to size: “little dogs” or “little doughnuts” are both small things. But if “little” modifies a non-countable noun (“wine” or “homework”), then it refers to quantity: so if you “drink very little wine” or “do very little homework”, we’re clearly talking about the amount of those things.

So with all of that in mind…

Quote:
(A) little water or services exist

This sounds pretty good! But it’s wrong, anyway.

The subject-verb is OK. Since this is an expression with “or” in it, only the final noun is used to conjugate the verb, so “…services exist” is fine.

But the word “little” is a problem. “Little water” makes sense: since “water” is non-countable, the phrase is saying that there’s a small quantity of water. Trouble is, the adjective “little” seems to also modify “services,” and that doesn’t make sense: since “services” is countable, the phrase “little services” would suggest that we’re talking about size (i.e., physically very small services). And that doesn’t make sense: we’re trying to discuss the quantity of services, not the size of them.

So we can eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) little water or services exists

Once again, “little” seems to modify both “water” and “services”, and that doesn’t make sense, since “services” is countable. See the explanation for (A) for more on that issue.

Plus, the subject-verb is wrong now: “services” is plural, but “exists” is the singular form of the verb. (If it helps, replace “services” with “they” to make it easier to hear the error: “they exists.”)

(B) is out.

Quote:
(C) few services and little water exists

Hm... "little water exists" sound pretty good to me! But it's wrong.

In (C), the “or” has been replaced with an “and”, so the subject (“services and water”) is plural. But the verb “exists” is singular, so it's incorrect. (If you’re not convinced: replace “services and water” with “they”. “They exists” is clearly wrong.)

But at least the modifiers are correct now: “few” is countable, and correctly modifies the countable noun “services”, while “little” modifies the non-countable noun “water”, so it indicates a small quantity of water.

But still: that subject-verb thing is a pretty big deal, so we can eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) there is little water or services available

(D) has the same problem as (A): “little” seems to modify both “water” and “services”, and that causes a problem, because “little services” doesn’t make logical sense. See the explanation for (A) for more on this issue.

In case anybody is wondering: I think the subject-verb agreement is OK here. When the subject of a clause contains the word “or”, then the verb generally is conjugated using the nearest noun: so “services or water IS” would be correct, for example. And in this case, “there is little water…” seems fine.

But that modifier problem is a pretty big deal. (D) is out.

Well poop, I hope we like (E), since we’ve eliminated everything else.

Quote:
(E) there are few services and little available water

I know what some of you are thinking: (E) arguably sounds wordy and awkward, and it seems like the phrase “there are” is a waste of words. I agree with all of that. I feel like there HAS to be a better way to write this sentence.

But writing the BEST possible version of the sentence isn’t our job. Our job on SC is to find the four answer choices that contain grammar or meaning errors. All of the first four answer choices have definite errors with either subject-verb agreement or modifiers. (E) has none of those mistakes: “few services” and “little available water” both are modified correctly, and “services and water” is correctly preceded by a plural verb phrase, “there are.”

So we’re stuck with (E), whether we like it or not.
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Re: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2012, 06:22
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It is a general principle that whenever –or is found in a collection of choices, each of the choices will be taken as singular and the verb also will be singular , while, if – and – is found, both the subject and the verb will be plural

(A) little water or services exist …… services matched the verb exist but little water does not.

(B) little water or services exists … reverse of A; little water tallies with exists, while services does not

(C) few services and little water exists ------ few services and little water is plural; does not tally with exists.

(D) there is little water or services available --- There is little water is okay; but there is services available is not okay.

(E) there are few services and little available water ---- The plural subject --- few services and little available- tallies with the plural verb are ; correct choice
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Re: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2010, 10:33
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Casinoking wrote:
papillon86 wrote:
251. Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing density, allows for more open space in areas where little water or services exist.
(A) little water or services exist
(B) little water or services exists
(C) few services and little water exists- Verb agreement
(D) there is little water or services available
(E) there are few services and little available water


Pls explain.....


Ans not 'A' because LITTLE doesnt go with SERVICES, because SERVICES are countable.

Ans not 'B' because of the same reason as above.

Not 'C' because EXISTS is Singular which doesnt tie in with Water and Services. The sentence basically doesnt sound ok with option 'C'

Not 'D' for the same reason as why not A.

'E' is perfect.

Does this make sense?
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Re: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Sep 2013, 23:52
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vishalrastogi wrote:
what is wrong with A here ?

as per my understanding when the subject is joined by "or/nor", the verb need to agree with the subject closest to the verb, which is services in A. so it should be exist, which is what is given.

I am confused here, can someone help me out please ?


Hi vishalrastogi.

I'm happy to help.

Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing density, allows for more open space in areas where little water or services exist.

(A) little water or services exist
Wrong. Little (X or Y) = Little X or Little Y. But services is countable --> can't use little

(B) little water or services exists
Wrong. Same as A.

(C) few services and little water exists
Wrong. [X and Y] --> compound noun --> plural --> "exists" is wrong.

(D) there is little water or services available
Wrong. Same as A. Little X or Y = Little X or Little Y. But services is countable --> can't use little

(E) there are few services and little available water
Correct. Only E uses correct grammar. (few services + little water)

Hope it helps.
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Re: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Feb 2014, 17:34
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goodyear2013 wrote:
Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing density, allows for more open space in areas where little water or services exist.
(A) little water or services exist
(B) little water or services exists
(C) few services and little water exists
(D) there is little water or services available
(E) there are few services and little available water.

Dear goodyear2013,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

"water" is uncountable, so we use "little water."
"services" are countable, so we use "few services."
See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... -vs-fewer/
The choices with "little water or services" are completely wrong. This eliminates (A) & (B) & (D).

As a subject, "little water" is singular, and by itself would take a singular verb.
As a subject, "few services" is plural, and by itself would take a plural verb.
As a compound subject, "few services and little available" is definitely plural, and demands a plural verb.
This blog discusses related issues:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-sente ... agreement/
The choices with singular verbs, (B) & (C) & (D), are incorrect.

These splits eliminate everything except (E). Choice (E) is grammatically correct, not ideal, but acceptable, and it is the best possible answer.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2016, 00:10
seofah wrote:
Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing density, allows for more open space in areas where little water or services exist.


(A) little water or services exist
Little (water or services) - it means little water or little services. We cannot use little for services because services are countable. If you do not get this in a go then scanning or POE of choices would make you think about “few” Vs “little”.

(B) little water or services exists
Same as A.

(C) few services and little water exists
This corrects the problem in A and B but introduces S-V error. A AND B existS.

(D) there is little water or services available
same as A. little is used for services.

(E) there are few services and little available water
correct.
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Re: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2017, 12:19
Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing density, allows for more open space in areas where little water or services exist.

Issue: Subject-Verb Agreement | Modifier

Analysis:
1. In this sentence we see little being used to modify "services". Since "service" is countable, we need to use "few" to modify it.
2. Another thing to notice is subject-verb agreement issue for the verb being used for compound subject "few services and little water". We need to use a plural verb to refer to them.


(A) little water or services exist
- "little" incorrectly modifies services

(B) little water or services exists
- "little" incorrectly modifies services
- In case of two nouns separated by "or", the verb should agree with closer noun. However, in case this does not happen. "exists" does not agree with plural "services"


(C) few services and little water exists
- "exists" does not agree with plural subject "few services and little water"

(D) there is little water or services available
- "little" incorrectly modifies services
- "available" does not agree with singular subject "water or services"


(E) there are few services and little available water

Answer: (E)
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Re: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2017, 01:14
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'E' is the correct choice - Posting OE as well

In this sentence, the adjective little correctly modifies the noun water because water is not a countable quantity. However, the noun services is a countable quantity and must be modified by few, not by little. Logically, the areas described would suffer from both little water and few services at the same time, so the correct conjunction is and, not or. This compound subject requires a plural verb.

A is out - Services should be modified by few, not little.
B is out because singular verb exists does not agree with the plural subject services.
C is out - When a compound subject consists of two distinct units joined by the conjunction and, the verb must be plural.
D is out - Little cannot modify services.

Correct 'E' - In this sentence, few correctly modifies services; and correctly joins services and water.
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Re: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Sep 2017, 23:57
daagh mikemcgarry pqhai

Can you pls help me in understanding the meaning?

(E) there are few services and little available water

a) With replacement of or by and, are we not changing the meaning of the sentence.
b) available is modifying water. There is a meaning difference between available water and existing water
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New post 25 Sep 2017, 14:39
gaitbhu wrote:
Can you pls help me in understanding the meaning?

(E) there are few services and little available water

a) With replacement of or by and, are we not changing the meaning of the sentence.
b) available is modifying water. There is a meaning difference between available water and existing water

Dear gaitbhu,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

I will say a few things.

First of all, notice that the "or" appears only in the grammatically incorrect construction "little water or services," as if it were trying to make the word "little" apply to both words. When that structure was not used, the answer choices had "and." Thus, this is not a direct "and" vs. "or" choice, but a choice between that structure and other structures.

Second, "available water" and "existing water" mean exactly the same thing: the water that people have available to drink in a given situation.

Finally, your questions really indicate that you have a lot to learn about the English language. While it's great to ask questions about individual Verbal problems, what will most support your rapid progress is the habit of reading. See:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

Also, here are some free GMAT Idiom Flashcards that you may find helpful.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2018, 18:17
Doesn't "or" and "and" mean different things?
It sounds like "and" implies both conditions have to be present while or is more flexible.
For downzoning to be true, both 1) little water and 2) fewer services have to happen?
This is why I didn't pick E
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Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2018, 08:04
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lary301254M7 wrote:
Doesn't "or" and "and" mean different things?
It sounds like "and" implies both conditions have to be present while or is more flexible.
For downzoning to be true, both 1) little water and 2) fewer services have to happen?
This is why I didn't pick E


In my opinion :first go for straight rules and then eliminate with meaning change : the correct option though suggests a meaning change but its the only grammatically correct option
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Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction  [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2018, 14:22
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StrugglingGmat2910 wrote:
lary301254M7 wrote:
Doesn't "or" and "and" mean different things?
It sounds like "and" implies both conditions have to be present while or is more flexible.
For downzoning to be true, both 1) little water and 2) fewer services have to happen?
This is why I didn't pick E


In my opinion :first go for straight rules and then eliminate with meaning change : the correct option though suggests a meaning change but its the only grammatically correct option

I agree with you on this, StrugglingGmat2910! (And I also hope that you aren't actually struggling too much! ;)) lary301254M7, you might benefit from this article or this video -- both cover the same general idea that you want to eliminate answer choices with DEFINITE grammar errors first, and then worry about meaning next.

In this particular case, I'm not sure that it's clear whether "and" or "or" does a better job of conveying the intended meaning. I suppose that "and" (in answer choice E) suggests that downzoning allows for more open space where there's a shortage of BOTH water and services, and that makes sense. But I also don't see anything inherently wrong with using "or" -- it would just suggest that if either water or services were lacking, then downzoning would allow for more open space. There's not really a clear reason to choose one of those options over the other. The grammar is pleasantly clear, however. :)

I hope this helps!
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Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction  [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2018, 21:43
GMATNinja wrote:
Two things jump out at me right away, as we discussed in this YouTube video on sentence correction priorities. First, there seems to be a subject-verb agreement thing going on: we have “exists” and “exist”, and then “there is” and “there are.” Looks like we’ll get some cheap eliminations from this stuff.

And then there’s the modifier “little.” It’s a funny one. If it’s used to modify a countable noun (“dogs” or “doughnuts”, for example), it refers to size: “little dogs” or “little doughnuts” are both small things. But if “little” modifies a non-countable noun (“wine” or “homework”), then it refers to quantity: so if you “drink very little wine” or “do very little homework”, we’re clearly talking about the amount of those things.

So with all of that in mind…

Quote:
(A) little water or services exist

This sounds pretty good! But it’s wrong, anyway.

The subject-verb is OK. Since this is an expression with “or” in it, only the final noun is used to conjugate the verb, so “…services exist” is fine.

But the word “little” is a problem. “Little water” makes sense: since “water” is non-countable, the phrase is saying that there’s a small quantity of water. Trouble is, the adjective “little” seems to also modify “services,” and that doesn’t make sense: since “services” is countable, the phrase “little services” would suggest that we’re talking about size (i.e., physically very small services). And that doesn’t make sense: we’re trying to discuss the quantity of services, not the size of them.

So we can eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) little water or services exists

Once again, “little” seems to modify both “water” and “services”, and that doesn’t make sense, since “services” is countable. See the explanation for (A) for more on that issue.

Plus, the subject-verb is wrong now: “services” is plural, but “exists” is the singular form of the verb. (If it helps, replace “services” with “they” to make it easier to hear the error: “they exists.”)

(B) is out.

Quote:
(C) few services and little water exists

Hm... "little water exists" sound pretty good to me! But it's wrong.

In (C), the “or” has been replaced with an “and”, so the subject (“services and water”) is plural. But the verb “exists” is singular, so it's incorrect. (If you’re not convinced: replace “services and water” with “they”. “They exists” is clearly wrong.)

But at least the modifiers are correct now: “few” is countable, and correctly modifies the countable noun “services”, while “little” modifies the non-countable noun “water”, so it indicates a small quantity of water.

But still: that subject-verb thing is a pretty big deal, so we can eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) there is little water or services available

(D) has the same problem as (A): “little” seems to modify both “water” and “services”, and that causes a problem, because “little services” doesn’t make logical sense. See the explanation for (A) for more on this issue.

In case anybody is wondering: I think the subject-verb agreement is OK here. When the subject of a clause contains the word “or”, then the verb generally is conjugated using the nearest noun: so “services or water IS” would be correct, for example. And in this case, “there is little water…” seems fine.

But that modifier problem is a pretty big deal. (D) is out.

Well poop, I hope we like (E), since we’ve eliminated everything else.

Quote:
(E) there are few services and little available water

I know what some of you are thinking: (E) arguably sounds wordy and awkward, and it seems like the phrase “there are” is a waste of words. I agree with all of that. I feel like there HAS to be a better way to write this sentence.

But writing the BEST possible version of the sentence isn’t our job. Our job on SC is to find the four answer choices that contain grammar or meaning errors. All of the first four answer choices have definite errors with either subject-verb agreement or modifiers. (E) has none of those mistakes: “few services” and “little available water” both are modified correctly, and “services and water” is correctly preceded by a plural verb phrase, “there are.”

So we’re stuck with (E), whether we like it or not.



Quote:
(D) there is little water or services available
--> water is nearer to the verb 'is'. So, as per the subject-verb agreement rule, the verb should agree with water? (I know that in normal construction(Not subject-verb inversion) the verb agrees with the nearer subject)

In case of subject-verb inversion, if we have 2 subjects( water and services) in this case, to check for subject-verb agreement we flip the order of subject so as to put water next to the verb in normal order?

services or water IS --After converting the inverted sentence into a normal one. So, here the verb IS should agree with subject WATER ?


AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , mikemcgarry , egmat , sayantanc2k, RonPurewal , DmitryFarber , MagooshExpert -- please enlighten
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Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction  [#permalink]

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New post 12 May 2018, 14:40
Skywalker18 wrote:
Quote:
(D) there is little water or services available
--> water is nearer to the verb 'is'. So, as per the subject-verb agreement rule, the verb should agree with water? (I know that in normal construction(Not subject-verb inversion) the verb agrees with the nearer subject)

In case of subject-verb inversion, if we have 2 subjects( water and services) in this case, to check for subject-verb agreement we flip the order of subject so as to put water next to the verb in normal order?

services or water IS --After converting the inverted sentence into a normal one. So, here the verb IS should agree with subject WATER ?


AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , mikemcgarry , egmat , sayantanc2k, RonPurewal , DmitryFarber , MagooshExpert -- please enlighten

Hi Skywalker18!

Happy to help :-)

You are correct. Since "water" is closer to the verb, we would want to use "is". So this would be correct:

...allows for more open space in areas where there is water or services.

However, that's not the sentence that we actually have. Instead, we have:

...allows for more open space in areas where there is little water or services.

The "little" makes a difference here, because it is supposed to be referring to both "water" and "services". However, "little" cannot refer to "services", since "services" is plural. That's why D is wrong here.

Does that make sense? :-)
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Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jul 2018, 00:23
WOuld someone pls suggest me why we are referring to "few services and little available water" as subject for verb identification.
What about "there" preceded in that clause, which refers to "area".

Experts would you pls clarify my silly doubt out there.
thanks in advance!
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Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jul 2018, 07:21
abhik1502 wrote:
WOuld someone pls suggest me why we are referring to "few services and little available water" as subject for verb identification.
What about "there" preceded in that clause, which refers to "area".

Experts would you pls clarify my silly doubt out there.
thanks in advance!

In that last part of the sentence ("there are few services and little available water"), you'll want to think about what, exactly, is "performing" the verb. In this case, the verb "are" just indicates a state of being (i.e., that something exists). And since "services and... water" are the two things that exist, then "services... and water" is the subject for that verb. And so the verb needs to be plural.

And be careful with the word "there" in this case. It's not a pronoun, so it's not referring back to anything. "There are" or "there is" is just an expression indicating that something exists, and generally has nothing to do with a specific location. In this sentence, "where" connects that final clause to a location, but "there are" just indicates the existence of few services and little water.

I hope this helps!
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QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jul 2018, 07:24
GMATNinja, hi. I got this question correct. I have a doubt about SVA in the presence of "or".

I know that in "either ... or" or "neither ... nor" constructions, the verb has to agree with the subject close to "or/nor". But what about the case when "either/neither" is not present?

Example: Sandman or GMATNinja is likely to win the lottery. (I think this is correct)
Example: Sandman or GMATNinja are likely to win the lottery. (I think this is incorrect)

Can you please clarify?

Thanks.
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Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jul 2018, 07:28
sandman13 wrote:
GMATNinja, hi. I got this question correct. I have a doubt about SVA in the presence of "or".

I know that in "either ... or" or "neither ... nor" constructions, the verb has to agree with the subject close to "or/nor". But what about the case when "either/neither" is not present?

Example: Sandman or GMATNinja is likely to win the lottery. (I think this is correct)
Example: Sandman or GMATNinja are likely to win the lottery. (I think this is incorrect)

Can you please clarify?

Thanks.

Yup, you're correct, sandman13! The presence of "(n)either" has no affect on how you handle the verb. So in your examples, the final noun is used to determine the form of the verb, with or without the word "either" or "neither."
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