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Profile: Rico
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User Name: Rico
Forum Rank: Newbie
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Joined: Sunday, May 15, 2011
Last Visit: Thursday, July 28, 2011 11:24:16 PM
Number of Posts: 3
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Topic: ...and...was(?)
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2011 11:24:15 PM
I've seen discussions of this question in linguistics texts. The explanations I've read say that although the sentence has a compound subject, and therefore would seem to require a plural verb (...and she asked where A and B were.), 'equipment' is an uncountable noun, and therefore singular. Because it is closer to the verb, its singularity can exert a greater force and the singular verb is acceptable.

The test would be to reverse the order of A and B.

"...and she asked us where our equipment and lawn mower were." OK
The uncountable/singular noun is farther from the verb and therefore weaker. The compound subject demands a plural verb.

"...and she asked us where our equipment and lawn mower was." Not OK in standard North American English. The singularity of the non-countable noun is not strong enough to overpower the plurality of the compound subject.

However, your sense that something is wrong is also valid.
"...and she asked us where our lawn mower and all our equipment were." is also acceptable.

It's language not mathematics. There can be more than one right answer.

Rich

Topic: All of them 'is' or 'are' ?
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2011 11:00:04 PM

"All" is a plural pronoun. "Each" and "every" are both singular. "All of them are damaged" is correct.

Rich

Topic: Can someone grammar check this for me please?
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 4:33:17 PM
[An interesting story, well told. Suggested changes below]

I was born in Havana, Cuba on May 15, 1994. I couldn’t have been born in a more ill-chosen country nor at a more inopportune time. Cuba was in the midst of the “Special Period,” a time when the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Cuba’s principal economic partner, had caused a severe economic depression very reminiscent of the Great Depression. In addition to being born during the apex of the worst economic crisis in Cuban history, I was also born underweight and I contracted Herpetic Stomatitis (a bad case of mouth ulcers that forced me into an abstemious diet due to the pain of swallowing and chewing.) My chances of survival were slim but after a month of searching, a local Catholic priest found the medicine which was provided by the United States humanitarian aid donations. I gradually coalesced and on September 1998 my parents won the Cuban equivalent of the lottery and with it a ticket to El País de las Maravillas, or The Wonderland, which was what I called the United States.

Almost immediately after receiving news of the ticket, we left Cuba and settled in a humble abode in West New York, New Jersey. Now 5 years old, I had a father who was fluent in English (in Cuba he was a manager of a prestigious hotel and thus spoke 3 languages fluently) and a mother who would deny any conversation lest it’s in English. She was adamant about being immersed in the English language and would only tolerate a Spanish conversation with friends. Consequentially, I never spoke Spanish except for greeting my mother’s acquaintances whenever they visited and was never exposed to my own culture because we easily assimilated.

West New York was, and still is, the most culturally varied town I have ever been to. I remember walking down Palisade Avenue and seeing a Mexican restaurant one block away from a hotel with Italian signs on it and two blocks away from a mosque. The entire ethnic spectrum could be found in my small town. I was matriculated in a Tae Kwon Do class that was headed by a man native to Korea. I liked the Tae Kwon Do class but was too young to understand the intrinsic value of self-defense and too old to derive simple pleasure from the series of traditional Korean self-defense stances–done in uniform with 30 other kids-called Forms (sometimes confused with the Japanese word Kata.) To me, Forms were strange and impersonal. I felt as if I were a programmed automaton doing the same thing in an endless loop. After two years of Tae Kwon Do, I started practicing Shorin-Ryu which to this day is my favorite martial art. Shorin-Ryu was rougher (we sparred without protective equipment) and much more pugilistic (Tae Kwon Do concentrated almost exclusively on kicking.) In addition, my teacher was a stern disciplinarian and exposed us to parts of Japanese culture. To this day I can recite a few words and count to 10 in Japanese.

Every Friday night, when I went with my mom to the local laundromat, I would always see the orthodox Jews. They had the same hairstyle, two conspicuous curls on opposite sides, and wore a black turban, which I found to be comical, but even as a child I admired their austerity and didactic disposition toward their children. I never befriended a Jew but I always found their strong sense of kinship to be admirable. It wasn’t until moving to Miami that I found my own kinship network, albeit a loose one, and people whose roots overlapped with mine.

In New Jersey I attended an overly crowded school, PS #1, which was just blocks away from the Hudson River. The only memory I have of my school was the infamous 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. My school was so close to the Twin Towers that less than half an hour after the first collision, I could see a dark cumulus ascend from my second grade classroom window. That day was extremely hectic, my parents fought against heavy traffic to pick me up, and all the radios were broadcasting warnings about a terrorist attack on New York.

At a little under ten years old I moved to Florida and finally reconciled with my culture. The first things I noticed about Miami were the huge umbrella-like palm trees and the myriad of people that reminded me of my family in Cuba. It was here that I truly realized the cultural value of being Cuban. Although I had known a handful of Cubans in New Jersey, that didn’t compare to the overwhelming numbers of Miami. It was during this time that I started actually using my knowledge of Spanish to a great degree which had hitherto been a vestige of a tongue used solely to communicate with a family long lost.

I lived in the part of Miami with the greatest amount of Cubans—Hialeah. I enrolled in another Shorin-Ryu karate school and the sensei (teacher) there was just as rigid and unrelenting in teaching as the one in New Jersey. My sensei was a native of Cuba who had learned the art directly from Japanese sanseis hired by the Cuban government to train its soldiers. In my karate school only the students spoke English, and thus I was forced to speak to speak Spanish daily. We lived in a nice neighborhood right on the border between Hialeah and Miami lakes, where we still live. All the locals spoke only Spanish, so Spanish was necessary if I wanted to do anything locally. I loved it. At age fourteen I picked up an interest in languages and from then until now I have taken an avid interest in my culture and language.

In October 2011, my mother finalized the reclamation of my grandmother from Cuba thus increasing my relatives in this country from two to three. I’ve learned a wealth of information about my culture since my grandmother’s immigration, and having someone so rich with knowledge of Cuba so close to me is invaluable. She has truly given me identity and given me the feeling of kinship that I admired in the Jews of the Friday night laundromats.