Sunday, 9 July 2017

Q&A: Parentheticals and Subject-Verb Agreement

What is the grammatical correctness for a sentence such as:

George Smith (and Tom Johanssen, of course) are making a strong contribution to the operations.

OR

George Smith (and Tom Johanssen, of course) is making a strong contribution to the operations.

The question really is: Is the information in brackets included in the grammar of the rest of the sentence or is it ignored?

Illuminated demons carrying books
George Smith (and Tom Johanssen, of course) is making a strong contribution to the operations.

The second version is the correct one: George Smith (and Tom Johanssen, of course) is making a strong contribution to the operations. As The Chicago Manual of Style points out, any matter set off with commas, dashes, or parentheses does not affect the rest of the sentence.

  • Sarah, and of course her clones, has issues with authority.
  • Cyril—and Gussie too—is excited about starting school in the fall.

If the correct version sounds awkward, try rearranging the sentence.

  • Sarah and her clones have issues with authority.
  • Cyril and Gussie are excited about starting school in the fall.

After all, correctness isn’t much good without clarity.

Old photo of two boys wearing fish heads
Cyril and Gussie are excited about starting school in the fall.




Become a Grammarlandia supporter on Patreon to keep this blog alive. You could have your question featured in a post.

No comments:

Post a comment