Who’s Who and the Blues

Subject-verb agreement

Subject-verb agreementWho reads The Washington Post on a regular basis? I have to admit that I do not, but I still look up to them. Who doesn’t?

It seems, though, that their writers are but human just like the rest of us. Recently, a reader pointed out a mistake that some grammar nazis enthusiasts will find more than egregious, if there is such a thing. The mistake? Something that is basic to the English language: subject-verb agreement. ((Blue over a grammar mistake))

I have not been teaching English for almost a year now, but I still do remember that this grammar point is one of the first things that we teach learners. It is one of the foundations that one cannot overlook. Then again, when it comes to the point, subject-verb agreement can get tricky. Ask The Washington Post writer who made the mistake.

So what got the reader’s feathers all ruffled? Apparently, it was this headline:

A who’s who of blues royals rock the White House

While that is a link to the article, I couldn’t find the mistake anymore. I guess they revised the statement ASAP.

So what’s the mistake?

What’s the subject of the sentence?

Who’s who

What’s the verb?


Do you see where I am going with this? As you very well know, the subject is a singular one. That means the verb should take on a singular form as well, right? In this case, “rocks” should have been used instead.

I can easily see why the mistake was made. That prepositional phrase does make things confusing, especially if you have a deadline hanging over your head!

Now let’s be honest. Would you have spotted that mistake immediately?

Image via English Grammar Revolution






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.