Thursday, July 29, 2010


Seen in City Square Mall, which professes to be the first ‘eco-mall’ in Singapore. 

The subject pronoun of the second sentence, They, is wrong.  Since the antecedent is the uncountable noun grass in the preceding sentence, we need a singular pronoun.  Make it It helps to curb soil erosion.
Thumbs Down

This headline (Straits Times website, 13 July 2010) is wrong: the correct expression is thumbs down, not thumb’s down.
Noun Phrases and Pronouns

Reading the short introduction above, one might wonder why the name of the product is repeated throughout, rather than being replaced by pronouns.  Indeed, the piece sounds a bit odd, since it lacks the cohesion that pronouns usefully lend to a text. 

Presumably, this is because, the more hyperlinks a webpage contains, the more likely it is to be picked up by a search engine.
Subject–Verb Agreement

This is from the New Paper on Sunday (28 February 2010).  Is the highlighted verb correct? 

One might assume it is, considering that the subject, over 17,060 kilometers, is plural, hence the plural verb separate.

However, over 17,060 kilometers actually represents a distance, hence a single entity, so it requires a singular verb here, i.e. separates.