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Posted by Bruce Kahl on August 20, 2003

In Reply to: And/or posted by GPP on August 20, 2003

: : : I am proofreading a sentence that reads "A change in the speed and/or a change in the load generate a dynamic situation." To me it sounds odd; I would prefer 'generates'. I suspect the perfect solution would be 'generate/s', but this is too weird, and 'generates or generate' is silly. I hesitate to recast the sentence. Can you support my feeling that 'generates' is preferable to 'generate'?
: : : Thanks
: : : Anders

: : And/or is an awkward construction and it is difficult to phrase elegantly.
: : "A change in the speed or load, separately or together, generates a dynamic situation."

: Grammatically awkward, perhaps, but I think not in terms of its being understood or widely used. I would always use the singular. Perhaps that's because the 'or' is probably the more inclusive term, while the 'and' really means you're hedging your bet.

"Change" is the subject of the sentence and is singular. Singulars require a singular verb--"generates".
If the subject were "changes", which is plural, then the predicate would have to be plural--"generate".

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