This question already has an answer here:

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!)

marked as duplicate by Kit Z. Fox Mar 17 '14 at 1:38

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 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 Jan 14 '14 at 23:55
  • 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. Jan 15 '14 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. – starmandeluxe Jan 15 '14 at 20:57
  • Just noticed: how can this question be a duplicate when the top answers between the two questions are opposites? – starmandeluxe Sep 7 '16 at 2:51

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 – starmandeluxe Jan 14 '14 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 Feb 10 '15 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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