EDITING

Ask Our Editors: To 'Each' Its Own Verb?

June 25, 2019

Ask Our Editors: To 'Each' Its Own Verb?

Q: Should it be "where the church, high school, and post office each stand abandoned" OR "where the church, high school, and post office each stands abandoned"?

A: The former is correct, even though that tricky “each” demands you think about the individual locations. The Chicago Manual of Style (rule 5.250) says this:

As a noun serving as the subject of a clause, “each” takes a singular verb.

Each of them was present that day.

But when it serves as an emphatic appositive for a plural noun, the verb is plural.

They each have their virtues.

The newspapers each sell for $3.

In the instance you described, since “each” is emphatic and in apposition to the series (rather than being the subject itself), the verb should be plural. Contrast with a construction like:

Each building on that hill stands abandoned.

OR

Each of the buildings on that hill stands abandoned.

 

We hope this saves each of you some time. :-)

 

Have a question about writing or editing that you'd like to ask the team at Kirkus Editorial? Message us through facebook or email us at bookediting@kirkus.com.

Great Books & News Curated For You

Be the first to read books news and see reviews, news and features in Kirkus Reviews. Get awesome content delivered to your inbox every week.

Thank you!