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I see sentences like

They are what is remembered.

More troops are what is going to be needed.

And got me wonderin': Can I rephrase them this way?

They are what are remembered.

More troops are what are going to be needed.

Which way is better?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I suggest avoiding all of the forms “X is what is needed”, “X are what is needed” and “X are what are needed”. Instead, write “X is needed” (if X is singular) or “X are needed” (if X is plural), or go from passive forms to active: “We need X”. If you must aver that X is the only thing or the precise thing that's needed, write “X is all we need” or “Precisely X is all we need” or “We just need X” etc. (Use are in place of is where appropriate.)

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It is always better to use active voice in sentences rather than using passive voice. The first sentence can be written as " They are what we remember." and the second sentence as "We/they(whatever it may be) are going to need more troops." So what is your opinion for this answer?

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It is not always better, @Barbie. Your second sentence above is passive, for example, and it would not be improved by recasting it in the active. –  John Lawler Mar 14 '13 at 18:16
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They are what is remembered

Is correct

I would rephrase the other too:

More troops are what will be needed

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