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How do I classify a phrase such as 'a team of horses' grammatically?

Question:

How do I classify a phrase such as 'a team of horses' grammatically?

Subjects and Prepositional Phrases:

Subject-verb agreement is a key skill in speaking and writing Standard American English. Subjects should agree in number with the verb in a simple sentence.

Answer and Explanation:

When working on subject-verb agreement, a few particular word patterns can cause confusion. One of these is when a prepositional phrase, such as 'a team of horses' is used as part of the subject. Our sentence might be something like:

  • A team of horses has been reserved for the sleigh ride Sunday afternoon.

The subject of this sentence is 'a team.' That is why we use 'has' instead of 'have' as the first part of the verb phrase. 'Team' is classified as singular, even though a team generally consists of multiple members. 'Of horses' is a prepositional phrase that tells us more about the subject. It is a team of horses that we will use for the sleigh ride, rather than a team of sled dogs.


Learn more about this topic:

Identifying Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

from Comprehensive English: Overview & Practice

Chapter 3 / Lesson 1
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