Compound Subjects That Use Or/Nor

When the parts of a compound subject are connected by the words or or nor, the verb should agree with the subject that is physically closest to it in the sentence.

 

Think of it in this sappy light: you tend to agree with those who are closest to you (family and friends), right?

Awww. Ain't love grand?

Well, compound subjects and verbs are no different. The verb agrees with its best buddy: the one that it's closest to.

 

Examples

"Either the Allans or Willy is in charge of snacks for the party."

In this example, is agrees with Willy because it's the closest.

"His parents or Connor has the keys to the van."

Here, has agrees with Connor because it's the word that's nearest the verb.

"Neither Latisha nor her friends have the directions to the pier."

In this sentence, have agrees with friends because it's closest.

 

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