Tim Burns:
In other words, does the following simple sentence require a singular or plural verb:
"Bob, as well as John, is/are going to the store?"

My ear tells me "is," but I'm often punctuationally deaf :-). So I'll let you guys tell me what's right.
Thanks
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Matti Lamprhey:
[nq:1]In other words, does the following simple sentence require a singular or plural verb: "Bob, as well as John, is/are going to the store?" My ear tells me "is," but I'm often punctuationally deaf :-). So I'll let you guys tell me what's right.[/nq]
My British ear says that the focus of this construction is firmly on Bob rather than both of them, so use "is". This has an American tang, however. I'd say that it can only be used if the hearer should already be aware that John is going to the store.
Matti
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Mark Brader:
[nq:1]"Bob, as well as John, is/are going to the store("?)[/nq]
I say "is".
A trickier case is that of a parenthetical "and".
"Bob (and all his brothers) is/are going to the store"?

I think "is" is preferable here, too, but I'm not comfortable with it.
Mark Brader Safire's Rule on Who-Whom:
Toronto "Whenever 'whom' sounds correct, recast the sentence." (Email Removed) William Safire, NY Times Magazine
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J. W. Love:
Tim asked:
[nq:1]Does the following simple sentence require a singular or plural verb: "Bob, as well as John, is/are going to the store?"[/nq]
It appears that Bob is going to the store as well as John is, so I'd say singular.
Yes, I know, I know. Oh well.
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CyberCypher:
Tim Burns wrote on 18 Aug 2004:
[nq:1]In other words, does the following simple sentence require a singular or plural verb: "Bob, as well as John, is/are going to the store?" My ear tells me "is," but I'm often punctuationally deaf :-). So I'll let you guys tell me what's right.[/nq]
Your ear is correct. It has to be "is". The parenthetical remark is, well, parenthetical and has no effect on the number of the subject: "as well as" is not a conjunction but a preposition, although Quirk et al. call it a quasi-coordinator and allow for a plural verb.

The M-W Dictionary of English Usage has a good discussion of the usage, including a statement that their compilation of real-life example usages of "as well as" does not include any sentences of the type you cite as problematic. This is a grammar-book example without significance in the real world.
Garner, on the other hand, echos what I said in the first paragraph above but he doesn't mention Quirk et al.
Professional writers, editors, and publishers seem to be split on the usage. M-WDEU suggests that if you want to use the plural, eliminate the commas that set off the "as well as John" part; otherwise, use the singular.
What is kright in this case is, unfortunately, not clear, as is the case in so many areas of linguistic dispute. What is right is what you can get away with writing and saying without having anyone comment negatively on it. Good luck with that definition of "What is right", by the way. It's rare enough to be relished.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
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A Gwilliam:
[nq:1]In other words, does the following simple sentence require a singular or plural verb: "Bob, as well as John, is/are going to the store?" My ear tells me "is," but I'm often punctuationally deaf :-). So I'll let you guys tell me what's right. Thanks[/nq]
I would say that you're right. The test I would apply would be to try the sentence without the parenthesis and see if the result still scans in the same way (just with less information). Sure enough, it does:

"Bob is going to the store"
Or to be cheeky, since you put the question mark within the quote marks:
"Bob is going to the store?"

Andrew Gw.
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Peter Moylan:
Mark Brader premed:
[nq:1]A trickier case is that of a parenthetical "and". "Bob (and all his brothers) is/are going to the store"? I think "is" is preferable here, too, but I'm not comfortable with it.[/nq]
For my money, the phrase in parentheses is not parenthetical.

Peter Moylan peter at ee dot newcastle dot edu dot au http://eepjm.newcastle.edu.au (OS/2 and eCS information and software)
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A Gwilliam:
[nq:1]A trickier case is that of a parenthetical "and". "Bob (and all his brothers) is/are going to the store"? I think "is" is preferable here, too, but I'm not comfortable with it.[/nq]
Apparently contradicting my earlier post, I think your example can only be right with "are". Since that earlier post doesn't seem to have shown up yet: I claimed that in the OP's example, because you could remove the parenthesis without disrupting the sense, "is" was correct. Hmm. Oh well, who needs logic?

Andrew Gw.
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