Saturday, October 3, 2009

Grammar Answer

I know it has been forever-and-a-half since I posted the grammar geek quiz on my blog and I apologize to the millions of avid readers who have been biting their nails in anticipation of the answer.  (If only that were true...)  So here goes my sad attempt to explain it. 
"That is one of the many qualities that make him the man we love to celebrate."

It's a simple case of subject verb agreement. You know, "the dogs eats" verses "the dog eats." If you take out all the extra words, you will discover that the subject of the sentence is "one" and the verb is "make." Obviously "one make" sounds funny. It should be "one makes." Right?

Wrong.  If you followed that logic and believed it, then you are equal to me in grammar prowess because that is what I thought to be the case and it is incorrect; we got nothin'.  In fact, the reason it has taken me so long to post an answer is because it really doesn't make sense.  I mean, the subject is really about the qualities, but that appears to be in a prepositional phrase, which often tricks people into thinking it is the subject when it is merely describing the subject.  The average Joe would read that sentence and not even consider it to be grammatically problematic...and Joe would be correct.  That's what I get for over-analyzing everything; problems created out of nothing.

Yes, I am telling you that I lied.  There is nothing wrong with the sentence.  I quote to you from the book ACT 36: Aiming for the Perfect Score.  (Yes, I read such books in my spare time...don't ask).

"Words indicating amount, like the word none [or in our case, one], when used as the subject of a sentence, do not hang out in the Singles Club.  They are married to one word--the word of.  The noun at the end of an "of" phrase [qualities] dictates the verb status [make]."

So there you have it. The sentence is actually grammatically sound. Psych.


Coach Ann said...

Good to know. I fell into that nasty trap prepositional phrase trap. I had to read your explanation and the sentence several times, but I can see where they're coming from now. I wasn't biting my nils, because I thought I was right. Now I have to bow my head in shame :)

Hubby said...

tricky, tricky, tricky. Though I knew it all along I just answered differently to throw everyone else off ;)

Jennie said...

I'd like to ask--but you specifically instructed us not to. And for the record, I checked back at least once a month for a new post. PS you should have a link to my blog--same goes to the rest of you fam!