Multiple Subject and Verb Agreement

Harry W. Jones hjbluebird at aol.com
Thu Oct 4 18:34:30 EDT 2001


Dear Ward,

We appreciate your thoughtful help in this matter. And of course all of
this is covered in GGBB starting at page 390.

Best Regards,
Harry Jones

> Dear Harry, and all:
> 
> At 12:45 AM 011004 -0400, Harry W. Jones wrote:
> >Dear Emil,
> >
> >A verb must agree with its subject in person(first,second,or third) and
> >number(singular or plural). If a subject is singular then the verb must
> >be singular. If the subject is first or third person then the verb must be
> >first or third person. Etc,etc...The gender would have no bearing on this
> >situation. More information on this can be obtained from GGBB starting at
> >page 390.
> >
> >I hope this helps.
> 
> 
> No, Harry, it doesn't really.
> 
> It is not true that the gender of the subject has no bearing on the 
> situation. There are two exceptions to the normal rule you mention, in 
> which a verb does not agree with its subject in number, and these are what
> Emil is asking about. The exceptions, not the normal rule.
> 
> The first exception is that a neuter plural subject regularly takes a 
> singular verb. The second exception is that a multiple subject (like "Jesus
> and his disciples", or "Aquila and Priscilla") most usually has a singular
> verb, especially if that verb is nearest to the singular part of the 
> multiple subject.
> 
> The GNT is full of uncountable examples of the first exception. Examples of
> the second exception also abound. Here are some:
> 
> "Jesus and his disciples", verb is nearest to "Jesus" (singular), and is
> singular: Mark 8:27; John 2:2; 3:22; "he and his whole household believed",
> verb nearest to the singular component of the subject, and is singular:
> John 4:53; similarly, Acts 16:31.
> 
> "so that the sower and the reaper may rejoice together", both elements of
> the multiple subject singular, verb is singular: John 4:36.
> 
> "the chief priests and the scribes", both elements plural, verb plural:
> Mark 14:1.
> 
> In Acts 5:29 the multiple subject is "Peter and the apostles"; the 
> participle APOKRIQEIS is closest to "Peter" (singular), and is singular;
> the main verb EIPAN is closest to "apostles" and is plural.
> 
> But note: "Priscilla and Aquila took him":  both elements of the multiple
> subject singular, and yet the verb is plural: Acts 18:26. An exception to
> the exception.
> 
> What Emil is asking is what happens when these two exceptive rules overlap.
> What would happen if you had a multiple subject comprising a neuter plural
> (which takes a singular verb) and a second plural element which was not
> neuter (and thus should take a plural verb)? Would the order in which these
> two elements of the subject occurred make any difference? Would it matter
> which element of the subject the verb was nearer? E.g., if you had the 
> order Verb, Neuter Plural Subject, (conjunction) Masculine Plural Subject,
> would the verb then be singular because of the "influence" of the neuter
> plural component of the subject?
> 
> Then again, if the verb came after the second element, or alternatively, if
> the masculine plural came first and the neuter plural second, and then the
> verb, what difference would this make?
> 
> That is what Emil is asking. If you can tell him what the answer is, that
> would be helpful.
> 
> Regards,
> 
> Ward
> 
> 
> >Best,
> >Harry Jones
> >
> > > Dear all,
> > >
> > > I'm a new member to the list and a beginner in koine greek. I would like to
> > > ask some simple questions. In a case of multiple subject, a verb would very
> > > frequently agree in number with the closer subject element. I just want to
> > > make sure that my understanding is right, especially concerning the general
> > > rule of verb agreement with a neuter plural subject.
> > >
> > > If we have multiple subject:
> > > 1. masculine plural and neuter plural - plural or singular verb? (noting
> > > that neutral plural nouns usually have a singular verb as an agreement).
> > > 2. neuter plural and masculine plural - plural or singular verb?
> > >
> > > Are differences in gender in a multiple subject influencing the use of verb
> > > numbers?
> > >
> > > Thank you very much.
> > >
> > > sincerely,
> > > Emil Salim
> > > Jakarta, Indonesia
> 
> 
> 
> 
>                                 http://www.netspace.net.au/~bwpowers
> Rev Dr B. Ward Powers        Phone (International): 61-2-8714-7255
> 259A Trafalgar Street          Phone (Australia): (02) 8714-7255
> PETERSHAM  NSW  2049      email: bwpowers at optusnet.com.au
> AUSTRALIA.                         Director, Tyndale College



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