in any country

Are these sentences correct:

1) Not all people are wealthy in any country.
2 ) Not all people, or even a majority of people, are wealthy in any country.

3) Not everyone is wealthy in any country.
4 ) Not everyone, or even a majority of people, are wealthy in any country.

Gratefully,

Navi

 

Original Post

Gustavo,

I agree that "any given country" sounds better than "any country" in Navi's examples.

As to agreement of subject and verb in (4), I was taught in elementary school that when two or more subjects are joined by the conjunction "or", the number of the last subject determines the number of the verb.  I have since learned that much of what I was taught in elementary school was wrong, but I have seen this rule confirmed since then.

It would seem on the surface, then, that the verb should agree with "a majority of people" rather than "everyone", and I think there are differing opinions as to whether "a majority of people" takes a singular or plural verb.

However, would you say that the rule doesn't apply here because "or even a majority of people" is set off as a parenthetical?  (And perhaps also because of the word "even"?)

Thanks,

DocV

[w]ould you say that the rule doesn't apply here because "or even a majority of people" is set off as a parenthetical?  (And perhaps also because of the word "even"?)

Exactly, DocV. With that phrase being parenthetical, "(not) everyone" stands out as the head of that subject. My feeling is that the singular is required for that reason, but I may be wrong.

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