Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sic List, The Next Generation

What can I say? I'm so proud.

Tonight, my little first-grader, Abby, was reading to me from a book she checked out of her school library. A few pages into the epic page-turner "Biscuit Finds a Friend," we come upon this:

Pretty exciting, no? Anyway, after reading this passage, Abby looked up at me.

"That doesn't sound right, does it?"

By gosh, she's right. That doesn't sound right. But I needed some help from my old friend, the Interwebs, to isolate the problem. Using "there is" as a stand-in for "here is," I find this:

In my neighborhood there is an outdoor swimming pool and two parks.

In my neighborhood there are an outdoor swimming pool and two parks.
If the first noun in the list of things is singular, use there is.

And if the first noun is plural, are is then the verb to use, as evidenced by the next page in "Biscuit Finds a Friend":

And that's all there is to say. Quack! Quack!