English as a Second Language/Subject-verb agreement


Dear Brian,

I read this sentence:

"Greater development and a perpetually increasing population has led to unprecedented demands on all of our resources, which has in turn led to an increased water shortage"

I think the verb "has" is wrong and must be "have" considering that there are two subjects. However, I need your guideline.

Best regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

Hi again Antoine!

You are correct!  This is a very common error that even native English speakers make: when we separate two single nouns, particularly noun phrases, we often ignore the fact that the subject is actually plural and accidentally use the 3rd person singular.

However, "development" and "population" are two distinct subjects and, as such, should be used with "has", not "have."

Good job!

English as a Second Language

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Brian Connelly


I can answer pretty much any question a student might have about English; about grammar, vocabulary, meanings of words, phrases, expressions or idioms, pronunciation, etc. I can answer questions about how to learn or study English better, how to improve certain aspects of communication (listening, writing, speaking, etc), about why we have certain rules.


I've been teaching English in Japan, mainly as a private (one-to-one) teacher, but also at companies such as Universal Studios or international airports. I have taught professional interpreters and translators and I have also taught students who dropped out of high school and never learned any English. Several years ago I acquired the CELTA and I have been running my own classroom for the past year.

None in particular, but I work with a number of companies who regularly introduce me to new students and occasionally to other companies that are looking for English teachers.


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I currently have approximately 40 individual students with whom I work one on one. I have also worked with local manufacturing companies, colleges, local retailers, as well as Sharp, Universal Studios, Itami International Airport, Kobe International Airport

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