§ 59. Compound predicates can combine elements of different types. Thus we have:
1. The compound modal verbal nominal predicate.
Jane must feel better pleased than ever.
She couldn’t be happy.
He may have been ill then.
2. Тhe compound modal nominal verbal predicate.
Are you able to walk another two miles?
We were anxious to cooperate.
3. The compound phasal nominal predicate.
He was beginning to look desperate.
George began to be rather ashamed.
4. The compound modal phasal predicate.
You ought to stop doing that.
He can’t continue training.
5. The compound nominal predicate of double orientation.
Mrs Bacon is said to be very ill.
Walter seems to be unhappy.
Agreement of the predicate with the subject
§ 60. The most important type of agreement (concord) in English is that of the subject and the predicate in number and person. Thus a singular noun-subject requires a singular verb-predicate, a plural noun-subject requires a plural verb-predicate.
This rule of purely grammatical agreement concerns all present tenses (except modal verbs) and also the past indefinite of the verb to be.
World literatureknows many great humorists.
Great humoristsknow how to make people laugh.
This rule remains true for:
a) All link verbs irrespective of the number of the predicative noun, as in:
Our only guidewas the Polar star.
Our only guide was the stars.
b) The predicate of emphatic constructions with the formal subject it.
It was my friends who suddenly arrived.
It’s they who are responsible for the delay.
§ 61. The verb-predicate is in the singular if the subject is expressed by:
1. An infinitive phrase or phrases.
To know everythingis to know nothing.
To be loved and to be wantedis always good.
2. A prepositional phrase.
After the meetingis the time to speak.
3. A clause introduced by a conjunction or conjunctive adverb.
Where you found himdoes not concern me.
How you got there is beyond my understanding.
Whether you find him or notdoes not concern me.
Subject clauses introduced by conjunctive pronouns what, who may be followed by either a singular or plural verb.
What I want to dois to save us.
What were once precious manuscriptswere scattered all over the floor.
What I say and what I thinkare my own affair.
4. A numerical expression, such as arithmetical addition, subtraction, division.
Four and fouris eight.
Four minus twois two.
Ten divided by fiveis two.
However multiplication admits of two variants.
Twice twois/are four.
5. The group many a + noun.
Many a manhas done it.
Ни один человек проделал такое. (Многие...)
6. With there - constructions followed by subjects of different number, the predicate agrees with the subject that stands first. The same holds true for sentences with here.
Therewas a textbook and many notebooks on the table.
Therewere many notebooks and textbook on the table.
Herewas Tom and Peter.
Herewas a man, wasexperience and culture.
In informal style, however, the singular verb is often usedbefore the subject in the plural if the form of the verb is contracted.
Is there any place in town that might have them? –There’s two.
There’s too many of them living up there.
There’s two kinds of men here, you’ll find.
7. Plural nouns or phrases when they are used as names, titles, quotations.
“Fathers and Sons”is the most popular of Turgenev’s novels.
However, the titles of some works which are collections of stories, etc., may have either a singular or a plural verb.
The “Canterbury Tales”consist of about seventeen thousand lines of verse.
Turgenev’s "Hunter’s Tales" was/were published in 1852.
Pronouns as subject
1. Indefinite pronouns (somebody, someone, anybody),
universal pronouns (everybody, everyone, everything, each, either),
negative pronouns (nobody, no one, neither, etc.)
take a singular predicate.
Somebodyis asking for you.
Nobodyhas come except me.
Everyone of usis present.
Neither of the studentshas made a mistake.
Eachhas answered well.
However, none has a plural verb-predicate.
None of usunderstand it.
None of themhave come.
All in the sense of «всё» has a singular verb, while all in the senseof«все» takes a plural verb.
Allis well that ends well.
All that glittersis not gold.
Allwere in favour of the plan.
2. Interrogative pronouns who, what take a singular verb-predicate.
Whohas come? Whatis there?
But if the pronoun denotes more than one person or thing a plural verb-predicate is used.
Whoare walking in the garden?
Whohave agreed to act?
3. With relative pronouns the form of the verb depends on the noun or pronoun which is its antecedent.
Do you know the girl wholives next door?
(The girl lives...)
Do you know the girls wholive next door?
(The girls live...)
Mary is one of those girls who neverknow what they will do next.
Even I, whohave seen it all, can hardly believe it.
It is you whoare right. It is I whoam wrong.
But: It’s me whois wrong.
4. The universal pronoun both has a plural verb-predicate.
Which of the letters are yours? Bothare mine.