[This sounds very simple, but could be difficult for native speakers of languages in which the subject-verb chord means exactly that the verb and subject carry the same morphs!] In addition to the fictitious concordance, here is a second principle in the game that sounds the use of a plural verb more “correct” than the singular verb, and this is called the principle of proximity. This means, for example, that in a construction like “many Revelers”, one might be more inclined to choose a form of verb that corresponds to the plural noun, which is closer to the phrase of the verb (Revelers) than the noun further from the singular (Crowd): Although it is quite easy to approve the English verb with the subject, complex subjects can sometimes lead to problems of verb-verb. The same rule applies (well or may apply) to neither sentences and one or more instances. In all the examples you have just provided, you can therefore change all instances from either in neither, nor in or in, and the verb remains unchanged. So the fictitious chord is something that we don`t often respect, because it`s almost instinctive, part of our regular speech habits. And it is not a rule defined per se, but a matter of preference, and it is more common in British English than in American English. If you prefer to say “a lot of spectators were approaching,” you`re not wrong. But there are times when the arrangement of what is considered an “agreement” is not so obvious, because what sounds like a single name is truly plural, or what sounds like a plural noun is essentially singular. This concept is called fictitious chord, also known as fictitious concord or synese. Most English people speak the basic rule of the subject verb chord: a singular name takes on a singular verb, and a plural noun takes its corresponding plural. Simply put, a fictitious chord occurs when the agreement between a subject and its verb (or, in some cases, a pronoun and its predecessor) is determined by meaning and not by form. A small change of expression changes more than one word for the verb.
This brings us to the plural theme. The same rule applies when the construction is reversed: for example, if you have a composite or pluralistic subject that functions as a singular unit, it sometimes seems “natural” for the subject to take a singular verb, despite formal rules to the contrary. In some cases, the agreement follows the number of the name closest to the verb. This is called the approximation rule. This rule applies to subjects that contain the following words: The proximity rule to which you refer is that if you have a compound but disjunctive subject, the verb in number corresponds to the closest – or in the case of three or more, the next – of the subjects.