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Which sentence is grammatically correct?

What are the elements in the poem that make it joyful.

or

What are the elements in the poem that makes it joyful.

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closed as general reference by Matt Эллен, MετάEd, TimLymington, Mitch, jwpat7 Aug 15 '12 at 18:35

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

3 Answers

The subject of make is the plural elements, whether you regard that as a relative pronoun or whether, like some grammarians, you don't. It follows that the verb must be plural, so make.

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The first one. The second one could be correct if you wrote it as:

What is the element in the poem that makes it joyful?

Or more simply:

What element in the poem makes it joyful?

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You should probably choose which instead of what, because you have a finite set of elements to choose from.

Which are the elements in the poem that make it joyful?

That being said, make should be used as the plural verb for elements, which is referred to by that.

The elements (that make me joyful) are [which].

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