AVOIDING SENTENCE ERROS
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Which of the following sentences are incorrect?
(1) He is one of those few students who get into an elite college.
(2) She is the only one of the students who get into Harvard University.
(3) Everybody thinks they are smart.
(4) None of us is perfect.
(5) None are so wrong as those who think they are always right.
(6) In the burglary, every window, door, and mirror were smashed.
(7) The long and the short of this proposal are that it is easy but costly.
(8) Give and take is important to a healthy marriage.
(9) Politics are something that many like to pursue.
(10) The police are coming.
(2),(3),(6), (7), and (9)
(2) She is the only one of the students who gets into Harvard University. (improved: there are many students, and she is the only one student who gets into Harvard University. In sentence (1), a few students get into an elite college, and he is one of them.)
(3) Everybody thinks he or she is smart. (improved: “everybody” is singular. A singular verb is used when “none” means “no one” or “not one”(4); a plural verb is used when “none” suggests more than one, as in (5).
(6) In the burglary, every window, door, and mirror was smashed. (improved: “every” is singular.
(7) The long and the short of this proposal is that it is easy but costly.(improved: certain common compounds are often considered singular, requiring a singular verb, e.g. “bread and butter”, “give and take” (8); and “the long and the short.”
(9) Politics is something that many like to pursue. (improved: some nouns, although appearing plural, such as “economics” and “politics” (9), require a singular verb. Likewise, some nouns, appearing singular, such as “police” (10), may require a plural verb.