Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#102344 - 05/01/03 10:45 PM Grammar: is or are?
heni79 Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 12
I am a non-native speaker of English, and I would appreciate if anyone could be so kind as to answer a quick grammar question that I have. Please, read the sentence below:

One of my favorite hobbies is/are soap operas.

My question is, should the sentence read 'is' or 'are'? I am very unsure about this particular example. I would also very much like to have an explanation to why 'is' or 'are' should be applied. Thanks for any help you can provide!

Heni


Top
#102345 - 05/01/03 11:26 PM Re: Grammar: is or are?
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
I would use 'is' to agree with 'one', which is the subject.

Welcome to the madhouse, hani. If you've been lurking here for any length of time and observing our antics, you will know that we rarely give a straightforward answer that everyone agrees on.

Bingley
_________________________
Bingley

Top
#102346 - 05/01/03 11:50 PM Re: Grammar: is or are?
heni79 Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 12
Thank you so much for your warm welcome and help!! It is much appreciated! I signed up only a few hours ago. This seems to be a great place! Thanks again for your help!

Heni


Top
#102347 - 05/02/03 02:38 AM Re: Grammar: is or are?
anchita Offline
journeyman

Registered: 04/21/03
Posts: 67
" . . . you will know that we rarely give a straightforward answer that everyone agrees on."

I agree, Bingley... ;-)

As regards the original sentence, Heni, I think you could also rephrase it to say, "One of my hobbies is watching soap operas (or acting in... :-))," thus creating some distance between 'is' and 'soap operas' which could have been the reason for the sentence sounding odd in the first place. Of course, as has been pointed out and explained succinctly, the original sentence is quite correct.

I'm not sure if I can take the liberty of welcoming you yet, being a stranger just like you... I'm still struggling to get a grasp of things that go about here, but believe me, it's quirky, fun and at more ocassions than one would expect -- enlightening too!!





Top
#102348 - 05/02/03 06:47 AM Re: Grammar: is or are?
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Good advice from anchita (who is perfectly within her rights to welcome anyone to this madhouse). The gerund watching would normally be understood in the original sentence and can be left out in colloquial speech. If it is indeed acting in soap operas that is one of your hobbies, heni, then it would be best to state that explicitly. For purposes of understanding the grammar, just know that the gerund is understood.


Top
#102349 - 05/02/03 07:47 AM Re: Grammar: is or are?
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
following up on what Faldage said, the one of the basic rules of english is "every sentence must have a noun and verb" - which, because this english, then gets fudged*! since "Go!" or "Stop!" (verbs only!) are valid--

the answer is in Go and Stop- the subject is implied.. you are speaking to the the person you want to go or stop, and they are implied subject.

In your example, "One of my favoite hobbies is soap operas" the part of the verb is implied! since the object (soap operas) are not tangible things, the implication is, you must have some way of accessing them.. (that is you watch them on television) since they are only available by watching, we use the gerund form of the verb, watching -- and is watching, (a verb phrase) is the verb.

with many hobbies, the gerund would just pop in..
my hobby is skating
my hobby is running
my hobby is swimming
my hobby is bikeridding
my hobby is ......ing

"implied" verbs are all to frequent when dealing with english, a language that claims to require one in every valid sentence!

One way i deal with verb/subject agreement, when i am unsure -- is to "recast" the sentence (and in another thread, someone just gave the proper rhetorical term.) by recasting, i mean move the words around and rewrite the sentence..
Of my hobbies, the favorite one is/are.. and in this form of the sentence it is much clearer that favorite one is the subject, not hobbies.! if you added watching or acting in, to the is, it would make the sentence even clearer.
an other hobby that might generate the same problem could be oil or watercolor painting
(One of my favorite hobbies is watercolors.. (the implied verb is painting but you could also use creating.)

always remember the revolutionary chant of the americans
"No taxation without representation!" (and the verb there is? Implied!-- this is what the chanters want -- but they leave off, and imply both the subject and the verb the "I Want" part!)

*fudge/d is an american slang term for breaking rules...
if one is not total truthful, or cheats, or break rules, they can be fudging-- "i fudged on my taxes, and didn't include all the cash i earned working weekends."
"i fudged a bit on test, i heard the morning class complaining about the essay question on XXX, and during lunch, i reread that chapter" or classically, " i fudged a bit on my age.. there is no reason for them to know i am over XX!"

_________________________
my other obsession

Top
#102350 - 05/02/03 08:31 AM Re: Grammar: is or are?
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
we rarely give a straightforward answer that everyone agrees on.
Well, I am immediately going to disagree with Bingley (!) and say that his answer is unequivocally correct. I would like to add my welcome, also, heni. oftroy, also known as Helen (how could we help it?), gave you some good examples. I can only add that the verb must agree with the subject, and in your sentence, the word 'one' is the subject. One is. Many are. If you, for example, wanted to list your hobbies, you would put, "My hobbies are: reading, bicycling, and (watching, as Helen said, is implied) soap operas".
You could also recast your sentence as: "I have many hobbies; one of them is soap operas". Hmm--in a way, this is similar to your sentence; you wrote 'hobbies is', and I wrote 'them is'. To me, mine makes it clearer that the verb should be singular to go with 'one'; however, I am belatedly realizing that it may not be clearer to a non-native English speaker. Oops!
However, let me congratulate you on your acquisition of the language; to have gotten so far as to question this--a topic we have had disagreements about, ourselves--shows a great understanding.




Top
#102351 - 05/02/03 10:31 AM Re: Grammar: is or are?
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
Re:I have many hobbies; one of them is soap operas". Hmm--in a way, this is similar to your sentence; you wrote 'hobbies is', and I wrote 'them is'.

Yes, recasting the sentence can change thing! in your recast, Jackie, you changed the object! I have many hobbies; one of them refers to object hobbies, it is really "one of the(m) hobbies"=(one hobby)which clearly is singular and takes is as the verb.

simplifed--I have hobbies. (subject: i verb: have object: hobbies,and in the second half of the sentence, (subject: one, dependant clause*: (of them (implied: hobbies)-(with one being the subject, and of them a dependant clause)a singular noun again!) verb: is (singular verb form) object: soap operas!
the meaning of the dependant clause "depends on" the object in the first sentence (or in this case,first clause of the sentence)

sometimes- a collective plural object is treated like a singluar:
Oils is a singluar object for the verb phrase Oil painting(watercolors works the same way)
soap opera's is a singular object for watching soap opera's

you could perhaps also use "wild mushrooms" for collecting wild mushrooms" (My hobby is wild mushrooms=my hobby is collecting wild mushrooms)

what helps me recast, is i learned to diagram sentences, (everyone who knows what i mean raise their hand, yes, i see my dear Mr Bingley, and Faldage, and twuwm, and puzzled looks on everyone elses faces asking "What is diagraming?"- so i can "see" dependent clause, and prepositional phrases very clearly!

it is a fairly common error in spoken english (and all too often in written english), to have a dependant clause too far away from the object it is referring to. (the rule is, a dependant clause refer back to the last noun/object.) many of us make that common mistake here, and frequently!(me include!) and almost every time, it becomes a source of humor. (we had one example recently-- i'll see if i can find it.)

The reason it is common here, is, most of the post are in a written form of spoken english, not in proper written english..
an example, Yes is proper (formal) answer for the affirmative, but when english speakers speak, they rarely say "Yes" but say yeah, or sure or OK oryup... words you will commonly find here!(like "yeah, but")

_________________________
my other obsession

Top
#102352 - 05/02/03 06:31 PM Re: Grammar: is or are?
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
raises hand

_________________________
formerly known as etaoin...

Top
#102353 - 05/02/03 06:39 PM Proper Chopped Liver????
musick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2658
Loc: Chicago
...most of the post are in a written form of spoken english, not in proper written english..

hey... Hey... HEY!!!


Top
#102354 - 05/05/03 06:19 AM Collecting wild mushrooms???
consuelo Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
In reply to:

you could perhaps also use "wild mushrooms" for collecting wild mushrooms" (My hobby is wild mushrooms=my hobby is collecting wild mushrooms)


The hobby in question would be hunting, not collecting. The thrill is in the chase. I found enough morels this weekend for a nice meal for two. The twelve hours I spent in the woods were my real reward.



Top
#102355 - 05/05/03 12:10 PM Re: diagram
wow Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
everyone who knows what i mean raise their hand, ... puzzled looks on everyone elses faces asking "What is diagraming?

Waving both hands madly -- Me! Me! Me !
Wwnt to a convent school ! I wouldn't want to try a complex sentence today, but I was a whizz in the sixth grade! And I amazed the English professor in college by diagramming and then correctly answering questions on parts of speech, clauses, subs, etc ...
Talk about things you'll never use !!!


Top
#102356 - 05/05/03 04:08 PM Re: Collecting wild mushrooms???
Capfka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/28/02
Posts: 1624
Loc: Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
Wasn't there a rather faux pop group called Hunters and Collectors? You stealing registered trademarks again, Connie?


Top
#102357 - 05/05/03 09:31 PM Re: Grammar: is or are?
heni79 Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 12
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'd like to thank everyone again for taking time to read my post and to offer me some much appreciated help. I can't believe how great you guys have been! You have been so nice to me for answering my question so thoroughly. I certainly didn't expect it! Also, thanks for the warm welcome! I'll be sure to stop by often. Take care, everyone! --Heni


Top
#102358 - 05/05/03 11:21 PM Re: diagram
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
sorry \/\/O\/\/! i should have realize you would know too!

and remeber BOY FANS? That is how you know you have a dependant clause.. But, Or, Yet, For, And, Nor, S(and.. and.. its not complete, because is missing.. but boy fans gave you a heads up..(and the list works for sentence fragments too.)

and to find a copulative verb, or a predicate adjective..
an earwig, to the tune of yankee doodle dandy, sing
Be Seen Feel Become Appear,
Look Taste Grow Sound Remain Smell
Copulative verbs take nomnative,
precicate nouns as adjectives!

(and that is the lesson for the day!)

_________________________
my other obsession

Top
#102359 - 05/06/03 02:19 PM Re: diagram
slithy toves Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 320
Loc: Sarasota, Florida, US
Here's how I learned 'em way back when:

Helping (or auxiliary) verbs:
be am is are was were been
have has had
do does did
may can must might
could would should shall will

Then the linking verbs--we didn't use the word copulative--sounded vaguely dirty:
be am is are was were been
become grow seem appear
taste smell sound look and feel

I always liked that order, ending as it does with the five senses.

I hasd a seventh-grade English teacher who considered sentence diagrams an art form. It was so drilled into us that I'm sure I could, given enough chalkboard space, do a compound-complex sentence with beaucoup prepositional and participial phrases, even now.


Top
#102360 - 05/06/03 02:29 PM Re: diagram
Capfka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/28/02
Posts: 1624
Loc: Utter Placebo, Planet Reebok
I has a seventh-grade English teacher who considered sentence diagrams an art form. It was so drilled into us that I'm sure I could, given enough chalkboard space, do a compound-complex sentence with beaucoup prepositional and participial phrases, even now.

I'm sure you can get treatment for your complaint, slithy. In the meantime, take two aspirins and see your prescriptivist grammarian in the morning!






Top
#102361 - 05/06/03 02:49 PM Re: diagram
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
He said he could diagram sentences; he didn't say he could proofread his own work.

Don't ya just hate it when a simple typo turns out to be grammatically incorrect?


Top
#102362 - 05/06/03 07:11 PM Re: diagram
slithy toves Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 320
Loc: Sarasota, Florida, US
Awright awready! See edit above. When will I learn?


Top
#102363 - 05/07/03 09:15 PM *hehheh*
consuelo Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
When will I learn?
Was that a rhetorical question, Slithy?


Top
#102364 - 05/07/03 11:16 PM Re: *hehheh*
slithy toves Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 320
Loc: Sarasota, Florida, US
Not really, Connie. More like Duh!


Top
#102365 - 05/10/03 10:14 AM Re: diagram
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
ST:

I agree wholeheartedly about diagraming sentences. It's a skill that everyone should learn during their formative years. I think I was in HS before I learned how to do it, and it has stood me in good stead all the many years since.

I fully intend to teach it to my kids starting fairly soon. Parsing and Latin were the two classes I took in HS that have greatly and positively affected my writing ability.

TEd

_________________________
TEd

Top
#102366 - 05/10/03 02:22 PM Re: diagram
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Right on, TEd. Back when parsing meant parsing, and scanning meant scanning.


Top
#102367 - 05/10/03 05:09 PM Re: diagram
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
Re: Scanning...
you do mean to use light, reflected off an image, create an electronic signal, right?

the light travels across and then down(repeatedly) the image in a stream, and image on the paper is first changed into a stream of reflected or non reflected light. this stream of light is further changed into an an electron signal by passing the reflected light, in stream, to a light sensitive switch, that turns on or off, dependant on the level of light reflected off the images. these changes from one state to another state are (the on/off signals) are electronic image of the information contained originaly on the paper.

or was it something else you had in mind?



_________________________
my other obsession

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8729 Members
16 Forums
13805 Topics
214955 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
BILLH, GrandmaCoo, ShellsnBells, charmingthemuse, toddster
8729 Registered Users
Who's Online
0 registered (), 31 Guests and 6 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
LukeJavan8 119
endymion6 107
wofahulicodoc 90
A C Bowden 48
jenny jenny 42
Tromboniator 8
Bazr 7
tsuwm 7
FoFong 4
Dennis_Lees 1
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11609
tsuwm 10521
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
AnnaStrophic 6511
LukeJavan8 6437
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5282

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith