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what is grammatically correct:

  1. Special thanks go to Tom...
  2. Special thanks goes to Tom...

IMHO I'd say thanks is one of those plural nouns which implies it requires go but I'm not sure.

It's for the acknowledgements section of my thesis; it should be formal English.

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Are they any cases where a plural noun is used with a singular verb (if we take off cases like "the news is good")? –  kiamlaluno Mar 7 '11 at 18:30

6 Answers 6

up vote 20 down vote accepted

While neither version sounds incorrect, I would agree that "go" sounds better when no article is used: "special thanks go to Tom."

If an indefinite article were used, "goes" would be correct: "a special 'thanks' goes to Tom."

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It will be "special thanks goes to" when it's a singular noun or a group. In plural, it will be "go".

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Actually, either of those examples could be considered grammatical, and neither sounds wrong to my ear.

Formally speaking, it should be thanks go, since thanks is a plural noun. If in doubt, just use thanks go and don't worry about it.

However, because thanks is so often used as a fixed expression, more and more people treat it as grammatically singular despite its plural form. For that reason, it's not uncommon to hear thanks goes, and this usage sounds natural to me.

Interestingly Google shows 1.9 million results for "thanks go" and 3.5 million results for "thanks goes", suggesting that the latter is actually more common. (But the first result for each page is actually a link to this very question in a different forum.) Salt this result liberally with the standard caveats about Google result counts being inaccurate, though.

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As @kiamlaluno said in a comment above, news is another example of a formally plural word that is treated as grammatically singular. –  JSBձոգչ Mar 7 '11 at 18:50
    
Thx for your answer. Actually I did perform a Google search looking for the according results count..that lead to my doubts and made me post here :). –  Juri Mar 7 '11 at 18:53

I recommend sidestepping the issue by avoiding the "go" entirely:

Special thanks to Tom ...

With special thanks to Tom ...

I'd like to give special thanks to Tom ...

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The phrase I would expect is "thanks go to", but looking at the Corpus of Contemporary American, I notice that "thanks goes" is also used.

CoCa chart

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4  
From the chart, I get in Fiction they don't thank anybody. Does that mean nobody thanks in Fiction because they do it for real? –  kiamlaluno Mar 7 '11 at 20:02
2  
I like the graph. Given it's for my MSc thesis acknowledgements section, the academic bar convinces me :). Thx! –  Juri Mar 7 '11 at 20:22

"A special thank you goes to..."

"Special thanks go to..."

"Thanks" is plural.

"Special thanks goes to" sounds plain wrong to me. Perhaps it's because I'm Australian.

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protected by RegDwigнt Mar 28 '12 at 9:31

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