Be careful to match the verb to the correct noun

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Yesterday, while writing a real estate bio, I made a common mistake: I matched a verb to a noun in the prepositional phrase rather than to the subject.

The sentence went something like: “Each of his listings, from fixer to mansion, is …” But the first time grammar bookthrough, I latched on to the word “listings” instead of the word “each,” and wrote “are.”

All I can say is that I’m glad I printed this out, let it sit overnight, and looked at it again this morning. When I read it with fresh eyes, the error jumped out and yelled at me. Thankfully, I didn't send that error to my client.

Once again, as with pronouns, the way to "see" the correct usage is to remove the extra “stuff.”

There is no way that I would have written “Each are…” But when I added in “of his listings” it was easy to hang that verb on the wrong word. Adding “from fixer to mansion” put even more space between the noun and the verb, and confused the issue even more.

A singular noun calls for a singular verb. A plural noun calls for a plural verb. Most of us match them up very well – unless extra words get in the way and confuse us.


 Grammar book courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Marte- I run into this all of the time (when I'm writing) and I'm sure there have been times when I attached the verb to the wrong noun.  I go back to the original noun and leave out the "clutter" after that until I find the verb.  Then I hope that the people reading it will not think I put the wrong verb with the noun.  This grammar stuff is hard!!!

Mar 30, 2017 05:16 PM #2
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Always love your grammar tips Marte. Have a great Friday!-Kasey

Mar 31, 2017 09:55 AM #3
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

                                      Thank you Marte Cliff 

Apr 01, 2017 05:25 PM #4
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thank you Kathy Streib  - It's always an honor to be included in your weekly roundup.

Apr 01, 2017 07:39 PM #5
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Great point, Marte. I'm always thankful that I gad a British teacher in fourth grade, who made it her mission to make sure we could spell, we could diagram sentences, all of which helps me with my writing today.

Apr 02, 2017 04:53 AM #6
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Marte Cliff ,

I'm so glad Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-Ha" moments for the week as I missed this one! Always love your grammar tips and glad to hear you sit on something you write and come back to review. A good time to catch those pesky errors.

Apr 02, 2017 05:10 AM #7
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning Marte Cliff whenever I have that situation, I always stop, analyze, proof and then continue.... it's a "show stopper" everytime....

Apr 02, 2017 05:35 AM #8
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Marte. All I can say is "guilty" as charged from time to time! Enjoy your day!

Apr 02, 2017 05:47 AM #9
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

I just love reading listing descriptions that are poorly written.  Makes me laugh sometimes but amazed that the agent would leave such glaring errors. 

Apr 02, 2017 06:21 AM #10
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Marte, it's not only matching verbs where I have an issue, it's those black socks too.  It doesn't seem fair to blame my grammar choices on my dryer though.  

Apr 02, 2017 06:34 AM #11
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Younger generation grew up spell what words sound. Text each other abbreviated words, slangs. Grammar is remotely mentioned in boring English class when one needs to take a nap.


Apr 02, 2017 07:38 AM #12
Jeanne Gregory
RE/MAX Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
The most important home I sell is YOURS!

Now if you could just let everyone in this business to know the difference between sell, sale and sail, I would be most grateful.  The house will not sale fast.  Nor will it sail fast.  And it's not for sell. 

Apr 02, 2017 08:09 AM #13
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte

Your tips are always appreciated, and the examples make them easy to understand. I make this mistake often I'm afraid!


Apr 02, 2017 11:12 AM #14
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Marte - that is how I was taught to do it as well but I can get careless.

Apr 02, 2017 12:42 PM #15
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I'm not sure I would have known which verb to use with "Each".  Makes perfect sense after your explanation though.

Apr 02, 2017 01:51 PM #16
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

That's exactly what I was taught in school - remove the extra stuff!

Your grammar lessons are invaluable.

Apr 02, 2017 02:20 PM #17
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Wow ... you're good, Marte Cliff .  Although I know you're correct about this, I didn't catch the error immediately either.  The importance of proofreading is greatly undervalued and too often forgotten.


Apr 03, 2017 01:00 PM #18
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Grammar is my downfall, as you say write it how you would say it and that is what I try to do. Easy to get mixed up with the is and are in sentences.

Apr 03, 2017 04:41 PM #19
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I'm usually right there with you, but in this case, I may have selected the wrong verb. "Each are" sounds correct to me, but if I change "each" to "one" or "a" it doesn't. 

Apr 04, 2017 03:50 AM #20
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

I always struggle with this. It just sounds so right to put are as opposed to is. Oh well. Thanks for the tutorial as always.

Apr 04, 2017 12:12 PM #21
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