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Sentence Correction: Subject Verb Agreement - A Pseudo-Plural Singular Subject

Ever since hearing about the local priest's arrest by the police, the congregation at St. Mary's Cathedral have been divided into two camps: those who support the allegations and those few who still believe he was framed.

Well done!

This answer choice corrects the original Subject Verb Agreement mistake, by changing the plural verb have to the singular verb has, to match the singular subject congregation

Note that a change of wording (camp -> faction) does not always imply a change in meaning.

While grammatically correct, this answer choice does not fit into the original sentence as a result of omitting the word into.

Incorrect.

Although it is grammatically correct, this answer choice is stylistically flawed. Replacing the two-word phrase the congregation with the three-word phrase the churchgoing people creates redundancy.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The plural subject churchgoers does not agree with the singular verb has.

Did you notice the change of subject from congregation to churchgoers

OK, so the lesson to be learned from this question is to pay close attention to detail.

Answer choices that correct the original mistake often include other mistakes which may help you eliminate them. Do not automatically asume that the only mistake to be corrected is the original mistake or that the only change an answer choice makes is in the part of the sentence that was originally flawed.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The singular subject congregation does not agree with the plural verb have.

What helps us identify this question as a Subject Verb Agreement question as well as identify this mistake is the following Stop Sign:

A pseudo-plural singular subject

Congregation is a confusing word. It refers to more than one person, which makes us think of it a plural subject, but it is, in fact, singular (its plural form is congregations).

Well, it's good that you noticed, but this change is also significant. Whenever you notice a change in an answer choice, ask yourself whether it introduces a new mistake or whether it is an innocent change. 

congregation at St. Mary's Cathedral have been divided into two camps:
churchgoers at St. Mary's Cathedral has been divided into two camps:
churchgoing people at St. Mary's Cathedral have been divided into two factions:
congregants at St. Mary's Cathedral have been divided two camps:
congregation at St. Mary's Cathedral has been divided into two factions:
Yes, I did.
No, I didn't.