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English as a Second Language/Possesseve forms - Subject-verb agreement

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Question
Dear Amy,

I read this sentence on http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/possessives.htm

•Giorgio's and her father was not around much during their childhood.

I am confused by the use of "was". I think it should be "were" but I am not sure and need your guideline.

Kind regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

Answer
Hello Antoine,

the sentence is correct as written, but I can understand why it may be confusing for you.

In the example above, Giorgio and "she" (the "her" being mentioned in the sentence) are brothers, they have the same father,  and it is their father (one single person) who wasn't around much.  Perhaps a better way to phrase the sentence would have been:

Giorgio and Jane's father was not around much during their childhood.

On the other hand,

Giorgio and her father were not around much during her childhood.
or
Giorgio and Jane's father were not around much during her childhood.

have a different meaning. This time it's about two people: Giorgio and Jane's father who have both been away a lot during Jane's childhood.

I hope this helps.

Best,

Amy

English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker

Expertise

I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.

Experience

I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

Education/Credentials
BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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