ATGV: Single or Plural?

Good morning, Kate. I am reviewing a document for a co-worker and need some help with a sentence.

Tailgating, as well as making rude gestures, passing on the shoulder, pulling into a parking space someone else is waiting for, and failing to yield to merging traffic, is considered an example of an aggressive act.

or

Tailgating, as well as making rude gestures, passing on the shoulder, pulling into a parking space someone else is waiting for, and failing to yield to merging traffic, are considered examples of aggressive acts.

Which is correct? I have checked several resources and haven’t found an example that is similar.

Julia

Wow. I’ve been saying these to myself since this afternoon, and they both sound wrong to me.

Perhaps it’s because whenever I use the phrase as well as, I usually have plurals on either side. The Danes as well as the Swedes dwell in countries that I hope to visit extremely soon. It doesn’t sound perfect, but it’s functional.

If I were writing this, Julia, I would strike as well as and change it to in addition to. This would make tailgating the focus of the sentence.

Tailgating, in addition to making rude gestures, passing on the shoulder, pulling into a parking space someone else is waiting for, and failing to yield to merging traffic, is considered an example of an aggressive act.

You know what? I think I like it better with dashes.

Tailgating — in addition to making rude gestures, passing on the shoulder, pulling into a parking space someone else is waiting for, and failing to yield to merging traffic — is considered an example of an aggressive act.

There we go.

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13 responses to “ATGV: Single or Plural?

  1. I would leave out the word example(s). After all, what is the difference between an aggressive act and an example of an aggressive act? To drive home my point: is the Iraq war a war or an example of a war?

  2. I agree with gary: strike “an example of.”

    And “like” sounds better than “in addition to” here. I know that some people never use “like” out of an irrational fear that what follows will be misread as a simile, but in its classic sense the verb gets closer to what the writer seems to be getting at.

    Substitute a more innocuous gerund (e.g. “waving”) for “tailgating” and you can see the difference between “like” and “in addition to.”

  3. I agree with dan, though in the sense in which he suggests to use it, “like” isn’t a verb but a preposition.

  4. I agree. I think “as well as” is the biggest waste of space in the English language!

    I don’t agree with Dan- “like” doesn’t work when you’re making examples. It’s not “like” tailgating. It is tailgating. It’s a funny idiom that an editor once pointed out to me.

  5. I’m pretty OK with “like” as a substitute for “such as” in examples of the form “activities like tailgating,” but I can see why it’s frowned upon.

    Here we’re talking about a much more acceptable use: making a comparison, e.g. “tailgaiting, like vehicular homicide”

  6. Although it may seem odd on the written page or sound odd when spoken, the singular “is” should be used in this sentence with either “as well as” or “in addition to”. Think: She, as well as you, knows that. You wouldn’t say “know that.”

    The phrases “as well as” and “in addition to” separate and distance the foregoing word or phrase from that which follows.

    But, to be honest, I would prefer canning the entire sentence and starting anew.

  7. Agreed, agreed. Adding like makes it sound much better.

    Marimba, I wouldn’t mind starting anew myself.

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  12. I don’t understand why people make grammar so painfully difficult when they don’t have to. This one is as easy as altering the sentence structure.

    Tailgating is considered an example of an aggressive act. Making rude gestures, passing on the shoulder, pulling into a parking space someone else is waiting for, and failing to yield to merging traffic are aggressive acts as well.

    Tailgating is considered an example of an aggressive act, along with making rude gestures, passing on the shoulder, pulling into a parking space someone else is waiting for, and failing to yield to merging traffic.

    In addition to making rude gestures, passing on the shoulder, pulling into a parking space someone else is waiting for, and failing to yield to merging traffic, tailgating is considered an example of an aggressive act.

    While I don’t like to take the easy way out in grammar, sometimes the best thing to do is to change what you are writing to suit what you know, until you are able to find a definite answer to your question.

    • bailey–

      Thank you. Regardless of the correct grammer, it is a poorly written, confusing sentence and should be re-written. I’ve found that most of the time you can’t decide what the correct punctuation or grammer structure is, it’s because the sentence itself is bad.

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