grammar question

Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: grammar question

  1. #1

    Question grammar question

    Hi! I am working on a new novel (fantasy) and I came across a sentence that illustrates a question I've had for a while. The sentence is:

    The only thing that hadn’t been affected [was/were] the universities.

    "The only thing" is singular, but "the universities" is plural.
    Should I use "was" or "were" here?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    "Thing" is singular, therefore "was" is what you need. The fact that "universities" is plural is immaterial. The subject of the sentence is the word "thing".
    Hidden Content

    Hidden Content

    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  3. #3
    Either put an 's' on the end of thing, and have 'universities. Or, lose the 'ies' and have 'university'.

  4. #4
    I don't think universities, singular or plural, can be affected. I think they'd have to be effected.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  5. #5
    Well, actually I think it's the other way around. I've been running into comments on effect/affect like this a lot online lately, going contrary to my impression. So I looked it up.

    —Usage note
    Affect 1 and effect, each both noun and verb, share the sense of “influence,” and because of their similarity in pronunciation are sometimes confused in writing. As a verb affect 1 means “to act on” or “to move” ( His words affected the crowd so deeply that many wept ); affect 2 means “to pretend” or “to assume” ( new students affecting a nonchalance they didn't feel ). The verb effect means “to bring about, accomplish”: Her administration effected radical changes. The noun effect means “result, consequence”: the serious effects of the oil spill. The noun affect 1 pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, is a technical term in psychology and psychiatry. Affect 2 is not used as a noun.
    See my books Hidden Content (and in heaven).

  6. #6
    Well I'm pretty clear on the affect/effect thing, but I wasn't sure about was/were. I'll stick with "was". Thanks for the replies.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.