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Should I use make or makes in the following statement:

Please explain why your experience and qualifications makes you the best candidate for this position

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Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/9053/… –  aedia λ Sep 29 '11 at 23:28
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2 Answers 2

"Make" should be used here, but the reason is not simply because there is a multiple subject. The rule for subject-verb agreement when there is a multiple subject is this:

If the multiple subjects are joined by and, then the verb is plural.
If the multiple subjects are joined by or/nor then the verb is singular.

Examples:

The orange, banana, and the jar always sit on the shelf when it rains.
In this scenario, either Job, Barney, or Rachel runs to Mrs. Norris and gives her a piece of fish.

Thus, in your case, "make" is used because your multiple subject is joined by "and".

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One edge case here is when your multiple subjects that are joined by 'or' are themselves plural, in which case the plural verb is still used: Either the Johnsons or the Andersons visit Old Mrs. Hendricks every week. –  Hellion Aug 2 '11 at 20:05
    
@Thursagen Well, this means that the rule doesn't change. Because when you are using "or", you are rather referring to a single entity with your verb and thus there is only one subject. Just my thoughts... –  Omar Abid Aug 2 '11 at 22:58
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You should use 'make' because the opening phrase contains a list of things (experience and qualifications).

Please explain why [list of things] make you the best candidate...

As opposed to:

Please explain why [one thing] makes you the best candidate...

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