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# Is this sentence correct?

Author Message
Intern
Joined: 09 Jan 2017
Posts: 13

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02 Mar 2017, 01:41
"NOT IN SEVERAL DAYS HAVE THE MOTHER OR THE CHILDREN BEEN SEEN "

Look at that "or",does the verb require the agreement with the part that is closer to it?
In this case,it should be NOT IN SEVERAL DAYS HAS THE MOTHER OR.....
Help me!!!

Sent from my iPhone using GMAT Club Forum mobile app
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4485
Re: Is this sentence correct?  [#permalink]

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03 Mar 2017, 16:52
marcuccio wrote:
"NOT IN SEVERAL DAYS HAVE THE MOTHER OR THE CHILDREN BEEN SEEN "

Look at that "or",does the verb require the agreement with the part that is closer to it?
In this case,it should be NOT IN SEVERAL DAYS HAS THE MOTHER OR.....
Help me!!!

Dear marcuccio,

I'm happy to respond.

The closer/further rule gets tricky when we invert the word order.

Think about it this way. The first auxiliary verb can hop around to all sorts of position in the sentence. The rest of the verb has a definitive location. Let's say that the location of the main part of the verb, the "meaning" part of the verb, is at the "been seen." The "has/have" would be there if we hadn't changed the word order. Then the sentence would be
In several days, the mother or the children have not been seen.
or, more naturally,
In several days, neither the mother nor the children have been seen.
In either case, of course, we need the plural verb, "have."
When we are thinking about closer/further, we have to judge with respect to the main verb location, the location of the "meaning" part of the verb, not the unusual position of the auxiliary verb.

Another way to say the same thing is: changing the word order, moving the leading auxiliary verb around, does NOT change which verb we would use. We always use exactly the same verb that we would have used if the whole verb were together in one place.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

Intern
Joined: 03 Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Re: Is this sentence correct?  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

03 Mar 2017, 19:41
marcuccio wrote:
"NOT IN SEVERAL DAYS HAVE THE MOTHER OR THE CHILDREN BEEN SEEN "

Look at that "or",does the verb require the agreement with the part that is closer to it?
In this case,it should be NOT IN SEVERAL DAYS HAS THE MOTHER OR.....
Help me!!!

Sent from my iPhone using GMAT Club Forum mobile app

Yes, the sentence is correct..
The type of sentence is subject verb switch... In this sentence have refers to the children.
It can be reconstructed as following
"The mother or the children have not been seen in several days."

I am little worried about the use of "in several days" instead of "since several days".

Sent from my MotoG3 using GMAT Club Forum mobile app
Intern
Joined: 09 Jan 2017
Posts: 13
Re: Is this sentence correct?  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

04 Mar 2017, 09:04
mikemcgarry wrote:
marcuccio wrote:
"NOT IN SEVERAL DAYS HAVE THE MOTHER OR THE CHILDREN BEEN SEEN "

Look at that "or",does the verb require the agreement with the part that is closer to it?
In this case,it should be NOT IN SEVERAL DAYS HAS THE MOTHER OR.....
Help me!!!

Dear marcuccio,

I'm happy to respond.

The closer/further rule gets tricky when we invert the word order.

Think about it this way. The first auxiliary verb can hop around to all sorts of position in the sentence. The rest of the verb has a definitive location. Let's say that the location of the main part of the verb, the "meaning" part of the verb, is at the "been seen." The "has/have" would be there if we hadn't changed the word order. Then the sentence would be
In several days, the mother or the children have not been seen.
or, more naturally,
In several days, neither the mother nor the children have been seen.
In either case, of course, we need the plural verb, "have."
When we are thinking about closer/further, we have to judge with respect to the main verb location, the location of the "meaning" part of the verb, not the unusual position of the auxiliary verb.

Another way to say the same thing is: changing the word order, moving the leading auxiliary verb around, does NOT change which verb we would use. We always use exactly the same verb that we would have used if the whole verb were together in one place.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

YES,of course!!
The interrogative construction,used whit sentences beginning with a negative adverb,got me confused!!
thanks MIke
Re: Is this sentence correct? &nbs [#permalink] 04 Mar 2017, 09:04
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