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ERIC Number: ED522450
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug-1
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
A Descriptive Enquiry into Subject-Verb Concord in English Existential Constructions
Tsuchida, Takehiro
Online Submission
Subject-verb concord in English existential constructions is often viewed as problematic from both prescriptive and descriptive approaches to grammar and causes considerable confusion among teachers and learners of English as a second language (ESL). This paper aims to disentangle debates over the curious usage of the "there" + plural noun phrase (NP) construction through descriptive analyses of linguistic phenomena, by conducting corpus research into its actual use as well as reviewing literature. What is apparent from this study is that singular concord of the verb "be" in existential constructions with plural post-verbal NP is frequently used not only in the present tense but also in the past tense in spoken English to such an extent that it seems to be one sort of standard rather than sloppy mistakes. These findings also suggest that existential "there" may be partly reinterpreted as a pronoun and thus the subject of the clause, requiring singular agreement with its corresponding verb. (Contains 8 tables.)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A