10 September 2006

No State Education Official Left Behind?

Last week I wrote to the editor of the Daily Courier (Prescott, Arizona) to point out an egregious grammatical gaffe . Today I’m going to write to the reporter at my local newspaper who cobbled together this sentence in a story about lack of oversight for California schools that fail to meet No Child Left Behind standards:

But there’s not enough resources available for micromanaging, state officials said, adding that they are starting to work more at the district level as more are deemed failing by the feds.

Single subjects demand singular verbs, and plural subjects demand plural verbs. “Resources,” the subject of the first clause in this complex sentence, is clearly plural. Therefore, the correct verb to use is “are.” The reporter (or the copy editor) should have written: “But there are not enough resources available….”

Unfortunately, my gut instinct tells me that when the reporter called the state education officials, one of them probably did say, “There’s not enough resources available.” In which case, why are these less-than-highly-qualified people in charge of enforcing the mandates of No Child Left Behind?


At 10:27 AM, Blogger Tam said...

Even though it's usually considered wrong these days, in the history of English, a lot of writers (and speakers) have used "there is" or "there was" with plural noun phrases. Language Log (a blog by some linguistics professors) just had a post about this very topic.


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