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Need we use sums in the case that the sentence describes the sum of plural objects?

For example, “100 centimeters sums to one meter” versus “100 centimeters sum to one meter”.

They both seem make some senses. For one thing, it is the sum of 100 objects, so it is suitable to use plural. For the other, in spite of how many things summed, the sum itself is a singular, so we’d better to use it in the singular way.

Which side is correct?

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marked as duplicate by Bravo, Andrew Leach, tchrist, KitFox Mar 13 '13 at 16:05

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100 centimetres sum to one metre. –  Bravo Mar 13 '13 at 10:54
@Shyam Thank you. By the way, why there is a to? –  Popopo Mar 13 '13 at 10:58
It is a contraction of '100 cms sum up to give one metre'. –  Bravo Mar 13 '13 at 11:26
Yes, only there has to be a space between the units of measure and the values (eg "1 cm", "99 cm") and between the unit of measure and the operator and the value (eg "1 cm + 99 cm"), and "m" for "meter/metre" should be "M" rather than "m". –  user21497 Mar 13 '13 at 12:10
In the phrase "100 centimeters sums to one meter", the word sums is not a plural, it's a verb. –  Carl Smith Mar 13 '13 at 13:05

1 Answer 1

You always use the singular:

  • Eighteen inches is a foot and a half.
  • Four and five is nine.
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Also, three children makes a family correct in syntax? –  Popopo Mar 13 '13 at 14:12
@Popopo Not usually. That is different. –  tchrist Mar 13 '13 at 14:13
According to standard English, in which cases should we use sums and in which cases just sum? –  Popopo Mar 13 '13 at 14:17
According to the English I use, 100 cm equals, is, or is equivalent to one metre. And that's British English - I'd have thought the 'sums to' expression was American English had Bill not stated otherwise. –  Edwin Ashworth Mar 13 '13 at 20:28
@EdwinAshworth I have no idea what this “sums to” is about. I would say it no differently than you would here. –  tchrist Mar 13 '13 at 20:42

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