Given a sentence in this format, which would be correct?

One or more items was skipped.

One or more items were skipped.

I'm leaning towards the latter, but maybe it doesn't matter? (Hey, that rhymes!)

  • Looks like that question contains plenty of information about when to use singular or plural. I'd be inclined to call this a duplicate.
    – toryan
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 23:55
  • 1
    No, this is not a duplication of that other thread. First of all, the other thread is supposed to be dealing with an existential construction ("There is/are X"). Second of all, that other thread has a lot of errors in it.
    – F.E.
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 2:48
  • I would argue my question represents the general case better than the other questions because it is much more concise and easy to understand. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 20:57
  • Just noticed: how can this question be a duplicate when the top answers between the two questions are opposites? Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 2:51

2 Answers 2


In English, only one is singular. Everything else is plural. You yourself instinctively recognized that by writing items, plural, in both cases. You didn't ask about "one or more item was" vs. "one or more items were". You went with the plural noun in both cases. So the verb should be plural as well. When the choice is not that between "item is" vs. "items are", but that between "items is" vs. "items are", it is really quite straightforward.

  • Nice explanation, I did indeed instinctively write "items" instead of "item" :P Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 18:59
  • Old question, but in this case isn't one the noun that the verb is referencing, since the conditional or does mandate plurality? So I'd think it would be [one] ... [was] skipped rather than ... [items] [were] skipped, or am I missing something?
    – vol7ron
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 22:00

I believe that the latter one is a better choice, because the subject is not in singular form anymore (such it was with ONE only)... What is more, after the which contains plural form (i.e. MORE ITEMS) one automatically puts a verb in plural form as well.

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