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I want to ask about adding "s" to verbs. Sometimes I don't get an idea how to add this letter.

Example, are these sentences correct?

Tom buys a car.
Tom buys cars.
Tom and Ruth buy a car.
Tom and Ruth buy cars.

I think these above sentences are correct.

But today I saw on Apple site this:

From one gift come many.

I don't get why come is without "s"?
Because gift is singular. I know that Apple knows English better than I, but I don't get an idea why to use just come instead of comes?

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  • The OP's example involves inversion, where the subject swapped locations with a clausal dependent: the subject is "many", and the dependent is "From one gift". A non-inverted version, where the subject comes first, could be: "Many come from one gift", though that version seems to sound unidiomatic. – F.E. Dec 20 '14 at 21:56
  • If I could I would vote to close because the question has nothing to do with English specifically. – Anixx Dec 21 '14 at 7:32
19

What you have here is an ellipsis. The full sentence is:

From one gift come many [gifts].

Gifts is plural, and so is the verb. It's not the one gift that comes; it's many gifts that come from it.

Conversely, if it were "from one gift comes another [gift]", or "from one gift comes one more [gift]", or something like that, you'd use the singular.

Two general hints to help you recognize such things in the future:

  1. many is a sure sign that you're looking at, or should be looking for, something plural
  2. from is a sure sign that you're not looking at the nominative case, and so you're likely not looking at the subject of a clause (it's "he does", not "from him does", nor "from him do")
  • 8
    Standard word order (SVA) would be 'Many gifts come from one gift'. Google Ngram Viewer has no occurrences of 'one gift comes' or 'one gift come', but 'one NOUN comes' and 'one _NOUN come' are both represented, with the first more common (not surprisingly). – Sydney Dec 18 '14 at 10:51
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    English does not have any cases except Nominative and Possessive (other than in pronouns). – Anixx Dec 18 '14 at 15:34
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    @Anixx English has cases alright. What you mean is that it does not have specific forms for these cases, so e.g. the nominative of Tom and the accusative of Tom are both Tom. But that doesn't mean that the accusative does not exist. The accusative of Tom is still the accusative. It is not the nominative. – ЯegDwight Dec 19 '14 at 10:39
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    @Anixx and RegDwight: In Huddleston and Pullum's 2005 textbook, A Student's Introduction To English Grammar", page 107: "In Present-day English the contrast between nominative and accusative forms is found only with personal pronouns and with interrogative and relative who (…). Other nouns appear in the same form in all the above constructions: …" – F.E. Dec 20 '14 at 22:08
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    (cont.) "cf. The [minister] wrote the editorial. Kim met the [minister] in Paris, and so on. We use the term plain form here: to say that minister was nominative in the first and accusative in the second would be to make the mistake of confusing INFLECTIONAL CASE with GRAMMATICAL FUNCTION." – F.E. Dec 20 '14 at 22:17
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The rule involved is subject verb agreement. A plural subject requires a plural verb.

The sentence in question makes identifying the subject a little tricky. "Gift" may appear to be the subject but, in fact, it is the object of the preposition "from".

The subject is "many" which is plural, requiring the plural verb "come".

In general, nouns become plural by adding an "s" or "es" while verbs become singular by adding an "s". I'm sure you can find exceptions, but that rule of thumb works for the majority of English words.

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