is the phrase grammatically correct? or should I say "The holidays are good times..." ? can we use "a" after "are" ?


The sentence is grammatical, and there’s no reason why are cannot be followed by a. Whether you write ‘The holidays are a good time . . .’ or ‘The holidays are good times . . .’ depends on what you’re trying to say. If you’re referring to Christmas, then the first is probably what you want. The second would be unusual. If you wanted to talk about holidays in general, then it would be ‘Holidays are good times . . .’

  • I like the example you have used, I couldn't think of a way to explain the two in context. – Yvette Colomb Nov 30 '13 at 10:15
  • Yes. This is an example of a plural-form noun used as singular. A more clearly acceptable set of examples are 'The Highlands is a region in Scotland / Papua New Guinea / NSW'. Then there's the Trossachs, of course. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 30 '13 at 11:55
  • No, @EdwinAshworth that's different. The question was about "The holidays are a good time...". Your comment would refer to The holidays is a good time..., which I don't think is idiomatic even in the US (which is where the holidays is a common phrase). – Colin Fine Dec 1 '13 at 20:26
  • @Colin: apologies; I'll tighten it: A plural-form noun perhaps (holidays) (though I'd use 'The summer holidays was when . . .')(and see The summer holidays was the time when all the friends were together at ) or perhaps not (Highlands) taking plural verb agreement but notionally at least partially regarded as unitary (The summer holidays are a good time to . . . / The Highlands is a wonderful region to . . .). – Edwin Ashworth Dec 5 '13 at 6:56

The holidays are good times to spend with the family (in the body of your question).

The holidays are a good time to spend with the family.

It depends on the plurality of time.

Singular, precede with a, otherwise drop it.

Deciding which to use, would really depend upon the context of the sentence.

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