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many of our students' personal decisions will have the inherent dangers of instant gratification, and so will their political decisions. . . . As a result, imagination itself will require a new definition. (1)

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In such situations, remember that the number (singular or plural) of the subject, not the predicate, determines the number of the verb. See the section on for further help.


Try to determine the definition from the context first.

A handful of nouns appear to be plural in form but take a singular verb:

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( [one word] is an adverb that can modify a verb.)

In-Text Citation: Use an in-text citation in situations where you are not quoting someone directly, but rather using information from another source such as a fact, summary, or paraphrase to support your own ideas.

[Use the adjective form with linking verbs.]

Notice that it's clear within this sentence that I'm referring to a certain person's beliefs, but since this person's name does not appear at the beginning of the sentence, I have placed her name, the year that her article was published, and the page number where I retrieved this information in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

He has divided the rest of his property his three brothers.

When in doubt, as always, consult a dictionary. Some dictionaries, for instance, will list both and as acceptable plural forms of It makes for good arguments when you're playing Scrabble. The online version of should help.

[This distinction is not as important as some people think.

How to Write an Effective Summary: Cover up the original article, it is key that you not quote from the original work. Restate what you've read in your own words, and be sure to give the author credit using an in-text citation.

See the usage of both words in your dictionary.]

There are, further, so called collective nouns, which are singular when we think of them as groups and plural when we think of the individuals acting within the whole (which happens sometimes, but not often).

Take a look at these examples:

Example: Congressman Joe Smith (2009) believes that our approach to reforming the healthcare system is backwards and costly. He discusses our rising national debt in "Healthcare: Let's Talk" and lists several statistics to prove that Obama's new plan will only make things worse.