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Which is correct?

  • 1.) Attached are our compensation plan, an independent contract agreement, and a W9.

or

  • 2.) Attached is our compensation plan, an independent contract agreement, and a W9.

I thought because each of the items segregated by the comma was singular it should be "is".

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@TerryN: Why did you delete the "inversion" tag? And why did you so drastically change the OP's title? You don't really know what the OP is actually asking about--only the OP does. –  F.E. Apr 9 at 6:15
    
@F.E. You really couldn't wait more than 9 minutes before assuming I wouldn't reply in a way that convinced you and changing things back? Are you in a habit of starting edit wars? –  Terry N Apr 9 at 6:47
    
@TerryN You really don't know what the OP is actually asking about. And, your assumption: "'inversion' (which I gather is the case anywhere a sentence is written in passive voice)" is wrong. (TerryN had deleted or modified a comment that this was in response to.) –  F.E. Apr 9 at 6:51
    
@F.E.: I don't understand how you could find the OP's Q ambiguous. They ask the question (should the verb in the given sentence be plural), then state their reason for thinking it would be singular (the individual items in the conjunction that forms the subject noun phrase are each singular). Their sentence is an example of subject–verb inversion, but there is no indication that the subject being to the right of the verb is the source of any confusion for them and it affects neither the grammatical number of that subject nor whether 'is' or 'are' is the conjugation that agrees with it. –  Terry N Apr 9 at 7:09
    
@F.E.: I was mistaken about passive voice resulting in formal subject-verb inversion. I deleted the comment you referred to for an unrelated reason before your reply was visible to me. The non-tangential portions of that comment can be seen rephrased in the comment preceding this one. –  Terry N Apr 9 at 7:43
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3 Answers 3

Your #1 is grammatical, while your #2 is ungrammatical.

Your sentence examples are in the form of subject-dependent inversion. The subject has been inverted with a verb-phrase (VP). The subject is the expression "our compensation plan, an independent contract agreement, and a W9", and the VP is the phrase "attached".

This is your original version #1, with the subject and VP in brackets,

  • [Attached] are [our compensation plan, an independent contract agreement, and a W9].

And the following is the corresponding non-inverted version, which has the subject first,

  • [Our compensation plan, an independent contract agreement, and a W9] are [attached].

Here is some related info from CGEL, page 1385:

In subject-dependent inversion the subject occurs in postposed position while some other dependent of the verb is preposed. A considerable range of elements may invert with the subject in this way, as illustrated in [1]:

[1] . . .

  • iv. Arrested were Nathan Johnson, 23, of New York, and his brother, Victor Johnson, 32, a 15-year Army veteran.

. . . Complements in these examples are . . . and subjectless non-finite clauses, or VPs, in [iv-v].

Note that CGEL is the 2002 reference grammar by Huddleston and Pullum et al., The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL).

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Your answer seems targeted at confusion about what the subject of the questioner's sentence is. They seem to already understand that their compound noun phrase is the subject, as evidenced by their statement "I thought because each of the items segregated by the comma was singular it should be 'is'." It's already that phrase that they're examining to determine the correct conjugation of the verb. –  Terry N Apr 9 at 3:40
    
Notice that their reasoning "I thought because each of the items segregated by the comma was singular it should be 'is'" would be just as applicable to the non-inverted form of their sentence. –  Terry N Apr 9 at 7:15
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You have a compound subject consisting of three items. You need a plural verb. Would you say, "Attached is a coat, a sock and a belt" or "Here is a fork, a spoon and a knife"?

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Sentence #1 is correct; #2 is not. The issue is subject–verb number agreement.

Ask yourself "how many things are attached?" The subject is singular, and therefore the conjugated verb should be 'is', if and only if your answer is "one". In this case your answer should be "three".

That each of the three is referred to by a singular component of the noun phrase is irrelevant when they're joined by the conjunction 'and'. The 'and' automatically makes it a set of multiple things of which you're speaking. (If, on the other hand, they were conjoined by 'or', you would not be speaking of the collection of them, but rather of an unspecified one of them, and the noun phrase would be singular—unless all of the components conjoined were themselves plural, but let's not go there.)

Perhaps you are confusing the relevant "test" with a popular one for pronoun case, whether a personal pronoun that would appear in a conjoined noun phrase should be of the subject form (e.g. 'I') or object form (e.g. 'me') (known as the nominative and oblique cases, respectively)? That test is that the sentence should still sound grammatically correct if each of the nouns/pronouns in the conjunction is used alone. For example, to determine whether it's "It was given to Kate and me" or "It was given to Kate and I", you ask yourself whether "It was given to me" or "It was given to I" sounds more correct. That test only affects what pronoun(s) should be used—not how any verbs should be conjugated.

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Why did you delete the "inversion" tag for the OP's post? And why did you so drastically change the OP's title? You don't really know what the OP is actually asking about--only the OP does. –  F.E. Apr 9 at 6:15
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