The next two exercises involve all the points covered in this unit. If you need to review, please do so before you proceed.

In the exercises, when the directions ask you to label the subject, please understand that you’re really being asked to mark the key word or words within the complete subject.

Exercise 6.4

Write s over the subject of each clause. Then fill in the blank with the form of the verb that agrees with the subject.

1. According to the latest records kept by the U.S. Agriculture Department, 1,431 pounds of food ___________ (are / is) consumed by the average American in one year. Twenty years ago, the average intake of food per person ___________ (was / were) 1,381 pounds. Forecasters in the department’s Economic Research Service (say / says) that increases in the consumption of chicken, fish, vegetables, and vegetable oil ___________ (are / is) expected. Meat and fruit ___________ (appear / appears) to be on the decline.

2. The correct term for American buffaloes ___________ (are / is) American bison.

3. Only the true fan among fans ___________ (care / cares) enough about sports trivia to know that the real names of “the Georgia Peach” and “the Galloping Ghost” ___________ (was / were) Ty Cobb and Red Grange.

4. According to chiropractors, poor posture habits in a child usually ___________ (begin / begins) around age eight.

5. Final Payments and The Company of Women ___________ (are / is) excellent novels by Mary Gordon. Men and Angels ___________ (are / is) another of her books.

Exercise 6.5

Write s over the subject of each clause. Then fill in the blank with the verb that agrees with the subject. This collection of strange facts (are / is) based on information in Life-spans, Or, How Long Things Last.

1. One of every seven pennies in circulation eventually ___________ (end / ends) up out of circulation. This ___________ (happen / happens) because the penny’s owner ___________ (plunk / plunks) it into a piggy bank or ___________ (force / forces) it into early retirement in the bottom of a dresser drawer or in an inner compartment of an old purse. One of every 14 nickels ___________ (share / shares) a similar fate.

2. Most nuts ___________ (stay / stays) fresh for one year if they ___________ (remain / remains) in the shell. However, pecans and Brazil nuts ___________ (keep / keeps) for only six months unless you ___________ (store / stores) them in the refrigerator.

3. Moonbeams, which ___________ (are / is) rays of light from the sun reflected off the moon, ___________ (take / takes) 1.3 seconds to travel from the moon to the earth.

4. The life span of a deck of cards ___________ (depend / depends) upon a number of factors. The moisture in the hands of the card players ___________ (are / is) one important factor because the moisture and oil in human skin definitely ___________ (affect / affects) the cards’ longevity. The condition of any and all playing surfaces on which the cards (are/is) used ___________ (are / is) also significant. For some people a deck of cards ___________ (last / lasts) a lifetime. For professional gamblers, the average pack ___________ (has / have) outgrown its usefulness after two to five hours of playing time. After that, the cards usually ___________ (show / shows) enough wear and tear that they ___________ (slow / slows) down the dealer if they ___________ (are / is) not replaced with a fresh pack.

5. A series of elastic waves, most often caused by the earth’s rupture along a fault, ___________ (are / is) better known as an earthquake. The length of most earthquakes ___________ (are / is) not more than a few seconds, but major earthquakes, such as the one in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1975, ___________ (has / have) been clocked at over five minutes. Certainly one of the most devastating earthquakes in recent times ___________ (was / were) the one to hit Mexico City in September 1985.