Agreement between a verb and its subject for number and person.

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30
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8answers
33k views

“There is/are more than one”. What's the difference?

While adding to an Answer to this question, I needed to use the above phrase, and I suddenly realised I was unsure whether to write "is" or "are". There is more than one way to skin a cat. If there ...
26
votes
7answers
2k views

Why “it’s turtles” not “they are turtles”

It is a third person singular and is used to refer to a thing. If that’s the case, then why do we say: A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on ...
26
votes
3answers
7k views

Is two-thirds plural?

Is 2/3 always, sometimes or never plural? E.g. 1a) 2/3 of the pizza were eaten. 1b) 2/3 of the pizza was eaten. 2a) 2/3 of the visitors were men. 2b) 2/3 of the visitors was men. I ...
23
votes
6answers
58k views

Which is correct, “neither is” or “neither are”?

Bob: "Can I set the font color? Can I customize the text?" Frank: "Neither of these options is available. Sorry!" Is "neither is" always correct or should one use "neither are" in some cases and ...
20
votes
2answers
21k views

A number of questions “has been” or “have been” asked?

Formally, is it correct to write: A number of questions has been asked here. or: A number of questions have been asked here. As a non-native speaker of English, I would prefer the former: ...
19
votes
4answers
37k views

Which is correct: “one or more is” or “one or more are”?

Should the phrase be "one or more is...", or "one or more are..."?
18
votes
5answers
18k views

“Which one is you?” vs “Which one are you?”

Imagine I'm looking at a photo containing a number of people's faces and I can't tell which one belongs to a certain friend of mine. I could ask him one of two things: "Which one is you?" or ...
17
votes
6answers
4k views

Is “the USA” singular or plural?

On the one side, the USA is just one country. Logic says it should be, then, singular, just like the United Kingdom is. Example: The USA owns this domain. On the other side, if I however expand ...
17
votes
3answers
80k views

Is “everyone” singular or plural?

Which is correct? Everyone were convinced that he would go to the game. Everyone was convinced that he would go to the game. I think it's "was", because "everyone" is singular, but I just ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Smoking, drinking and eating are not allowed

I live in Bangkok and on the intercom in the subway they constantly say Smoking, drinking and eating are not allowed. To me it sounds weird. I’d say Smoking, drinking and eating is not allowed. ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it ok to say “Your barracks is finished”?

In the online game Travian, the following sentence is used: Your barracks is finished. A good step towards world domination. Shouldn’t it instead be: Your barracks are finished. or Your ...
15
votes
4answers
30k views

Is “staff” plural?

Which one of these two statements is correct? Our staff do ... Our staff does ... Is staffs correct?
15
votes
3answers
671 views

What are wrong with this phrase?

Is the phrase what are wrong with XY and ZZ correct English? I stumbled upon it in a question on movies.SE: What are wrong with the bleach and the fish in the Machinist?, and instantly thought ...
14
votes
12answers
3k views

The grammaticality of “that don't impress me much”

I'd like to know how the sentence "That don't impress me much" sounds to a native English speaker. The phrase is the title of a song by Shania Twain, and to my eyes it contains a clear error. It is ...
13
votes
5answers
22k views

Is “audience” singular or plural?

I want to use 'audience' in the following sentence. In what form should I use it? Is it a singular or plural noun? How the audience demotivate players in the NBA. How the audience demotivates ...
13
votes
1answer
7k views

Ellipsis or Ellipses?

Inspired by this question: What is the correct term to use when describing the "three dots" (. . .), ellipsis or ellipses? And are either of these terms considered plural? For example, if I wanted to ...
12
votes
4answers
17k views

There are no comments / There is no comment

Which is correct? * "There are no comments." * "There is no comment." Which would you use for a web application, i.e. what to display when a blog post or an article has no comment attached? ...
12
votes
4answers
6k views

“Neither Michael nor Albert is correct” or “Neither Michael nor Albert are correct”?

What is the correct sentence? Neither Michael nor Albert is correct. Neither Michael nor Albert are correct.
12
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4answers
2k views

Shouldn’t “art” be “is” in “Our Father who art in heaven”?

The Lord’s Prayer begins in English: Our Father who art in heaven,hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Shouldn’t it be who is there, not who art? ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

“There Is”/“There are” depends on plurality of the first list element or not?

It seems I put a stick in the anthill at ELL. Bounty assigned by outside party, two lengthy, reference-citing answers, one "-1" (awarded the bounty), one "-2", two others scored "0" and "-2" ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Collective nouns and subject-verb agreement: general rule or arbitrary?

A newspaper ran this headline recently: (1) Police crack down on IAC protesters. [emph added] Why did it not read: (2) ? Police cracks down on IAC protesters. I have found instances of ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

“Was” or “were” for “half a dozen”

In Microsoft Word, the following sentence is flagged. It tells me to use "was" instead of "were" There were half a dozen books strewn about the floor. I would think that you would use "were" ...
10
votes
2answers
561 views

has scientists excited or has excited scientists?

I saw the following on the Facebook page of Time. Is "has scientists excited" or the perfect version "has excited scientists" correct? What's the difference if both are correct? The recent ...
10
votes
5answers
645 views

What does the door do?

We would like to enlist your help in arbitrating this grammatical dilemma. Given the question: What does the door do? Which of the following options is most correct as a response to the ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

More than 1000 gallons of paint is/are sold each day [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Plural/singular verb agreement with units Does modifying a collective noun with a number make the subject plural? Can anyone help me determine the correct verb in this ...
10
votes
4answers
8k views

“Are either of you free?”

In the process of writing to two people I typed: "Are either of you free?" and was immediately called out by my grammar checker which suggested I should write: "Is either of you free?" The second of ...
10
votes
3answers
11k views

“Are” vs. “is” with compound subjects

How are the wife and kid? How is the wife and kid? Which is more correct?
10
votes
4answers
4k views

When a sentence uses an optional plural, should the rest of the sentence treat it as singular or plural?

Consider the following sentence: We assume that the individual(s) possesses some general knowledge of the rules of football. Is "possesses" correct there? Should it be "possess"? Is the rule ...
10
votes
1answer
5k views

[Singular] Is/Are [Plural]?

My fish's native habitat is rice fields. My fish's native habitat are rice fields. I'm pretty sure the first is correct, since 'is' modifies 'habitat,' but it still sounds weird...
10
votes
3answers
453 views

“[Noun] upon [noun]” — singular or plural?

I am copy-editing a manuscript in which the author has written the following sentence: Rank upon rank of theologians has envisioned God the Father as the omniscient and omnipotent one. "Rank ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

Plural or singular when stating that an amount is enough

A colleague of mine corrected the following sentence in a text I had written: A handful of iterations was generally enough for convergence. According to her it should be: A handful of iterations ...
10
votes
1answer
172 views

“A child don't know anything” in Gadsby — grammatically right? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The grammaticality of “that don't impress me much” In Gadsby, which is almost grammatically not wrong at all, occurs just a solitary construction that I ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

“My last couple of years” — singular or plural?

Should I use "wasn't" or "weren't" in the following sentence? My last couple of years as an Edison Eagle wasn’t all about fighting and bad friendships.
9
votes
4answers
1k views

“1 out of 100 chickens is” or “1 out of 100 chickens are”?

I'm in an argument. To me "are" makes more sense. I understand the rationale for is because it's only one chicken, but chickens itself is plural. Help?
8
votes
3answers
30k views

“How's things?” or “How are things?”

In a short interview where people were introducing themselves I saw something that grammatically sounds erroneous. Is the use of How's things instead of How're things a kind of expression or a simple ...
8
votes
3answers
18k views

“A total of 10 babies is…” vs. “a total of 10 babies are…” vs. “Ten babies in total are…”

Which one is the correct one? A total of 10 babies is sleeping. (A) A total of 10 babies are sleeping. (B) Ten babies in total are sleeping. (C) For me, both (A) and (C) are correct. ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

“Will have” vs. “Would have”

By the end of the year, I would have attended this school for five years. Of course, the "most" correct way of writing this would be: By the end of the year, I will have attended this school ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

Using a singular or plural verb after “and/or”

If the subject of a sentence is separated by "and/or", should the verb be pluralized, as with "and", or agree with the rightmost subject, as with "or"? For example: His co-workers and/or his boss ...
8
votes
2answers
143 views

Verb agreement with “what”

This came up when reviewing a written English exercise, and I realized that I don't entirely trust my intuition on the answer. Which of the following is correct? Or are both valid? (Or is it ...
8
votes
5answers
10k views

Is “a total of 10 payments” singular or plural?

A total of 10 payments were made. OR A total of 10 payments was made. Which is correct? Or can both be correct?
8
votes
2answers
822 views

Historical usage of “was”/“were” with “you”

I was reading letters from a surgeon to his wife during the Civil War and noticed he used "was" as opposed to "were" on many occasions. Examples: I truly wish you was here with me. Was you ...
7
votes
6answers
36k views

“There are so many” vs. “There is so many”

There are so many questions on this website. There is so many questions on this website. The former "sounds right," but the contracted form of the latter does as well: There's so many ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

“Yes, I thought it was very good.” Why “thought”?

Here is a sentence from "Essential Grammar in Use" book by Raymond Murphy: Did you enjoy the film ? Yes, I thought it was very good. The correct answer in key section is "thought", but why not ...
7
votes
2answers
162 views

What is the proper way to refer to the Original Poster (OP)?

In a Stack Exchange comment, I was corrected by referring to a user named alice as a "he". I said (context): I know he thinks he needs all of the eigenvalues, but I've learned that ... and was ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

When should we use proximity rule in “either/or”, and “neither/nor”?

According to this link, if at least one of the nouns involved is plural then it should take the plural form of the verb. Otherwise, it should take the singular form of the verb. But in the last part ...
7
votes
1answer
6k views

Controversy over verb choice in “neither you nor I {is/am/are} in control”

I was watching the film A Game of Shadows starring Robert Downey Junior and Jude law when this line came up, "...neither you nor I is in control..." (I can’t remember the exact words that ended the ...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

“My brother or one of my sisters” — singular or plural?

Should I use 'was' or 'were' in this example? I was always delighted when my brother or one of my sisters was/were asked to do them.
6
votes
3answers
1k views

“How much is/are the two fares?”

Which is correct? How much is the two fares? How much are the two fares?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

“…as you and I am” versus “…as you and I are”

Which is the correct usage to end the following sentence? [person] is not as [adjective] as you and I [am/are]. I'd also like to see some good fill-in-the-blanks.
6
votes
2answers
619 views

Can 'nothing' ever be preceded by a plural verb?

I've had it drilled into my head that nothing is always singular, since it's essentially another way to say 'no thing'. However, in the following sentence, I'm having trouble ascertaining whether the ...