Tolkien Gateway

Letter 218

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{{letter|218}}
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{{letter infobox
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| #=218
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| to=Eric Rogers
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| date=[[1959#October|October 9]], [[1959]]
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| subject=English language
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}}{{letter|218}}
 
==Summary==
 
==Summary==
Shortly before sending this letter, dated [[October 9]], [[1959]], Eric Rogers sent a letter to "any Professor of English Language". He inquired about the use of the verb in a passive sentence: Is it "A number of office walls ''has'' been damaged", or "''have'' been damaged"?  
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A Mr. Eric Rogers had sent a letter to "any Professor of English Language". He inquired about the use of the verb in a passive sentence: Is it "A number of office walls ''has'' been damaged", or "''have'' been damaged"?  
  
 
Tolkien, now retired, states Mr. Rogers could do as he liked; both are correct. Since "number"  is singular, the verb could be singular. But since "walls" is plural, the verb could be plural.  
 
Tolkien, now retired, states Mr. Rogers could do as he liked; both are correct. Since "number"  is singular, the verb could be singular. But since "walls" is plural, the verb could be plural.  
  
 
{{letters}}
 
{{letters}}

Revision as of 12:55, 31 August 2010

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 218
RecipientEric Rogers
DateOctober 9, 1959
Subject(s)English language

Letter 218 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Summary

A Mr. Eric Rogers had sent a letter to "any Professor of English Language". He inquired about the use of the verb in a passive sentence: Is it "A number of office walls has been damaged", or "have been damaged"?

Tolkien, now retired, states Mr. Rogers could do as he liked; both are correct. Since "number" is singular, the verb could be singular. But since "walls" is plural, the verb could be plural.