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科技英语写作基础(系列):主语决定动词(单、复数) 精选

已有 4966 次阅读 2018-11-29 05:18 |个人分类:Scientific Writing|系统分类:教学心得| 科技英语, 写作, 主语, 动词

借用The Elements of Style ,我们在这里编译几个跟科技英语有关的例子。(Yes, I am cherry-picking.) 



9. The number of the subject determines the number of the verb. 




Words that intervene between subject and verb do not affect the number of the verb. 

错:The bittersweet flavor of youth — its trials, its joys, its adventures, its challenges — are not soon forgotten. 

对:The bittersweet flavor of youth — its trials, its joys, its adventures, its challenges — is not soon forgotten. 


但是,下面的从句who是“定义”scientists和those people。不是定义one。

A common blunder is the use of a singular verb form in a relative clause following "one of..." or a similar expression when the relative is the subject. 

错: One of the ablest scientists who has attacked this problem 

对:One of the ablest scientists who have attacked this problem 


错: One of those people who is never ready on time 

对:One of those people who are never ready on time 


在each, either, everyone, everybody, neither, nobody, someone后面常常用“单数动词”。

Use a singular verb form after each, either, everyone, everybody, neither, nobody, someone. 

Everybody thinks he has a unique sense of humor. 

Although both clocks strike cheerfully, neither keeps good time.



With none, use the singular verb when the word means "no one" or "not one." 

错:None of us are perfect. 

对:None of us is perfect. (none=单数)

A plural verb is commonly used when none suggests more than one thing or person. 

None are so fallible as those who are sure they're right. (none=复数) 

如果主语带有and,即“主语=a and b”,一般就是复数。

A compound subject formed of two or more nouns joined by and almost always requires a plural verb. 

The walrus and the carpenter were walking close at hand. 


下面这些“特殊情况”是“既定单数”,我们只能“接受” 。

But certain compounds, often cliches, are so inseparable they are considered a unit and so take a singular verb, as do compound subjects qualified by each or every. 

The long and the short of it is ...

Bread and butter was all she served.

Give and take is essential to a happy household. (用is)

Every window, picture, and mirror was smashed.  (用was)


在“B as well as A”做主语时,动词由B决定。(纠结啊!我一直都被教成“动词由A(靠近动词的那个)决定”。

原作者说:名词1+with, as well as, in addition to, except, together with, and no less than+名词2  后面的动词  由名词1决定。

A singular subject remains singular even if other nouns are connected to it by with, as well as, in addition to, except, together with, and no less than. 

His speech as well as his manner is objectionable. 



A linking verb agrees with the number of its subject. 

What is wanted is a few more pairs of hands. (主语是what,动词就是is,尽管后面有pairs of hands。)

The trouble with truth is its many varieties.  (主语是trouble,动词就是is,尽管后面有many varieties。)


下面这些“复数“,被当成“单数”(已经成为规矩), 我们只能“死记硬背”。

Some nouns that appear to be plural are usually construed as singular and given a singular verb. 

Politics is an art, not a science. (哈哈)

The Republican Headquarters is on this side of the tracks. 



The general's quarters are across the river. 

In these cases[,] the writer must simply learn the idioms. The contents of a book is singular. The contents of a jar may be either singular or plural, depending on what's in the jar —jam or marbles. 





1.    语态

2.    常用时态

3.    一些标点符号(句号、逗号,参考The Elements of Style  I 1-7)

4.    常用句型(主语谓语的“一致性”,参考The Elements of Style

5.    段落(参考The Elements of Style

6.    修改、修改、再修改(简洁为上/逻辑性/一致性)





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