Page:The Comic English Grammar.djvu/86

This page has been validated.

equivalent to a plural noun, and therefore require verbs, nouns, and pronouns, agreeing with them in the plural number: as, "Veal, wine, and vinegar are very good victuals I vow." "Burke and Hare were nice men." "A hat without a crown, a tattered coat, threadbare and out at elbows, a pair of breeches which looked like a piece of dirty patchwork diversified by various holes, and of boots which a Jew would hardly have raked from a kennel, at once proclaimed him a man who had seen better days."

This rule is not always adhered to in discourse quite so closely as a fastidious ear would require it to be: as, "And so, you know, Mary, and I, and Jane was a dusting the chairs, and in comes Missus."


When the conjunction disjunctive comes between two nouns, the verb, noun, or pronoun, is of the singular number, because it refers to each of such nouns taken separately: as, "A cold in the head, or a sore eye is a great disadvantage to a lover."

If singular pronouns, or a noun and pronoun of different persons, be disjunctively connected, the verb must agree with the person which stands nearest to it: as, "I or thou art." "Thou or I am." "I, thou, or he is," &c. But as this way of writing or speaking is very inelegant, and as saying, "Either I am, or thou art," and so on, will always render having recourse to it unnecessary, the rule just laid down is almost useless, except inasmuch as it suggests a moral maxim, namely, "Always be on good terms with your next door neighbor."

It also forcibly reminds us of some beautiful lines by