In Longman's advanced grammar book the rule says 'The form of the present simple verb only changes after he, she or it, when we add -s to the base form (-es after o, s, sh, ch and x; -ies when the base form ends in -y)

In an example : A colony of Antarctic penguins lives in Marwell Zoo.

My understanding : add 's' only if he, she or it is present

My question: is 'A colony of Antarctic penguins' considered as 'it'? Or am i missing something else?

  • 5
    The rule is badly stated: replace after he, she or it with after a third-person singular subject. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 25 '17 at 14:30
  • @StoneyB got it – IllegalSkillsException Jun 25 '17 at 14:59

Yes, "A colony of Antarctic penguins" is considered as "it". Indeed, the subject of this sentence is "A colony". The penguins just represent the composition of the colony. You could replace the sentence by "A colony lives in the city." Therefore, the subject is singular and at the 3rd person. You have to use the -s rule.

So you would write:

A colony of Arctic penguins lives in the city.

Or if the penguins were the subject, you would write:

Some Arctic penguins live in the city.

  • 1
    +1 Cause a colony is singular, meaning it and pinguins is plural, meaning they. – SovereignSun Jun 25 '17 at 14:58
  • @SovereignSun because, not cause :) – Jim MacKenzie Jun 25 '17 at 15:07
  • @SovereignSun The word "pinguins" don't exist. The plural is either "Pinguine" in German or "pinguinen" in Luxembourgish. – alephzero Jun 25 '17 at 20:12
  • @JimMacKenzie An easy mistake to make, considering that the bird is пингвин in Russian ("pingvin"). – P. E. Dant Jun 25 '17 at 20:56
  • @alephzero I've almost never used this word in Englush, yeh penguins is correct. – SovereignSun Jun 26 '17 at 5:46

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