Posted by: episystechpubs | September 28, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Check Your Antecedent

Welcome back!

I was reviewing some older grammar articles (because that’s what I do for fun), and I came across the following sentences, which all contain an error. At first glance, the errors might be a little hard to find, so I thought this would be a good topic to discuss. Hint: the errors have to do with antecedents. The information is from Daily Writing Tips.

Each of the following quotations contains a grammatical error:

1. This process is one of several that is required to maintain nuclear SREBP1-c at very low levels… –Yeshiva University website

2. A study designed by Drs. Liu and Clarke is one of several that is slated to be included in the pilot run. –Georgetown University website

3. Steve Wozniak Is One Of The Few People Who Has Met The Kimye Baby. –Business Insider

4. Henry [Kissinger] is one of the few who has the trust of the keepers of the secrets. –William Safire

The error is using a singular verb with a relative pronoun whose antecedent is plural. [dbb –
An antecedent is a thing that comes before something else. In the previous examples, a singular verb (is or
has) follows a plural antecedent (several or few), which creates an error in agreement.]

Correct answers and explanations:

1. This process is one of several that are required to maintain nuclear SREBP1-c at very low levels…

The highlighted verb, are,refers to the word several (not to the word one), and since several is plural, you need a plural verb.

2. A study designed by Drs. Liu and Clarke is one of several that are slated to be included in the pilot run.

As above, the highlighted verb, are,refers to the word several (not to the word one), and since several is plural, you need a plural verb.

3. Steve Wozniak Is One Of The Few People Who Have Met The Kimye Baby

The highlighted verb, have,refers to the word people (not to the word one), and since people is plural, you need a plural verb.

4. Henry [Kissinger] is one of the few who have the trust of the keepers of the secrets.
The highlighted verb, have,refers to the word few (not to the word one), and since few is plural, you need a plural verb.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432


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