Life, Death & Verb Agreement

Impressive and impressively serious campaign from the Illinois Department of Transportation. I particularly like “We’re all at risk, we’re all at fault,” as it takes the campaign down from the high-horse that can so quickly switch people’s ears to off.

But I find myself wishing my ears had an off switch whenever I hear the radio ad.  See transcript-excerpt below:

“…That means everyone you know — even yourself — are at risk.”

Italics mine. The “are” coming immediately after “everyone” and “yourself,” clanks hard on my ear.  I suppose some grammar technician felt secure that “everyone you know — even yourself” describes a plural collective, but I would have avoided the jarring sound of this formation by writing around it.  Whenever I find myself looking up hardcore grammar-referee sites, I always rewrite.  If it’s wrong to my ear, it’s wrong.

Okay then IDOT, I’m letting you off with a warning — try this:

“….You’re at risk…and so is everyone you know — everyone you love.”

Ahhh…much better. “Everyone you love” also reminds us why we’re listening in the first place.  It heavies things up, and lifts that weight at the same time.

Now that’s the, uh…ticket.

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