Friday, 1 March 2013

7 Things to Know About Concords

1) A concord is a way of showing that two grammatical units have a certain feature in common.

2) The most important is the third person in the present tense. This states that singular subjects take singular verbs or plural subjects take plural verbs. For example:
My boy watches television in the evening.
My boys watch television in the evening. 

3) The verb 'be' shows first person concord between the subject and verb in the present tense, using 'am'. This verb is the only one to display past tense concord, with the first and third persons, using was. For example:
I am tired. I was tired. He was tired.

4) Three types of concord:
a) Grammatical concord - This occurs when elements formally agree with each other. For example, a plural concord for plural subjects.
b) Notional concord - This is when the verb agrees with the singular or plural. For example: Two miles is a long way. The verb is singular because 'two miles' is seen as a singular entity. 
c) Concord of proximity - This is when a verb agrees with the number of a nearby noun, rather than the real subject. For example: No one except his football team agree that it was a goal.

5) Concord can be confusing and people are uncertain about it. Traditional grammars insist on grammatical concord, but usage often favours notional concord. Concord of proximity often occurs in spontaneous speech, but is condemned in writing. 

6) Usage is particularly divided over 'none'.
None of the pens is/are on the table.

The plural is more commonly used, but the older tradition insists on the singular. 

7) When two nouns are linked as a subject, you need to decide if you want to consider them as one or two separate entities.
Law and order is/are now established.  

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