1. Both either and neither, as subjects, take singular verbs. It can be confusing, but do not get distracted.
- Either Jude or Zoe plays (not play) football.
- Neither of the marketers bargains (not bargain) well.
2. When the correlative conjunctions neither/nor or either/or frame singular subjects, the verb is singular.
- Either John or Mary sings at the choir.
3. When the subjects are plural, the verb is plural.
- Neither the teachers nor the students like the headmistress.
But when one subject is singular and the other plural, the verb will be singular or plural is determined by the subject nearest to it.
- Neither the employers nor the employee approves of the presentation.
- Either the man or his children attend this church.
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4. The words but, however, therefore, otherwise, cannot join independent clauses without additional punctuation.
An independent clause expresses a complete thought. It can either stand-alone or be connected to another clause by a comma and a conjunction (or, but, such as, and).
- My house is close by, but I can’t walk it alone.
5. When conjunctive adverbs e.g., however, join two independent clauses, a semicolon must go in front of the connector and a comma after.
- I cannot attend the English class; however, I hope to get your lecture notes.
You create ‘a comma splice’ when you omit the semicolon or replace it with a comma.
Look at these sentences below:
- I cannot attend the English class, I hope to get your lecture notes.
- I cannot attend the English class, however, I hope to get your lecture notes.
Comma splice is the use of a comma to join two independent clauses. It is also called a comma fault.
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