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Singular/plural confusions – subject and main verb

Writers sometimes get lost and make grammatical mistakes when there’s a long introductory phrase before the main verb. The best solution often is to reorder the wording.

Test yourself

Look out for some errors here. Can you fix the grammar or rephrase the sentence to make it clear? Some sentences, such as the first, could have two possible variations, depending on the author’s intended meaning.

  1. Answering technical questions and providing supporting documents determine the scores for each indicator.
  2. There is an estimated 1,026 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the north-west of the country.
  3. Questions and answers (Q&As) on the relationship between common noncommunicable diseases and COVID-19 has been developed.

Answer key, with suggested alternative phrasing

  1. (The sentence as it stands could be correct if we are thinking of two separate things)
    Answering technical questions and providing supporting documents determines the scores for each indicator.
    The scores for each indicator can be determined by answering technical questions and providing supporting documents.
    We can determine the scores for each indicator by answering technical questions and providing supporting documents.
  2. There are an estimated 1,026 maternal deaths per 100, 000 live births in the north-west of the country.
    An estimated 1,026 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births have been recorded in the north-west of the country.
  3. Questions and answers (Q&As) on the relationship between common noncommunicable diseases and COVID-19 have been developed.
    Questions and answers (Q&As) have been developed on the relationship between common noncommunicable diseases and COVID-19.

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Carol Waites (PhD)
Email:  carolswritingtips@gmail.com

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