2

This question already has an answer here:

I was about to write that several things were missing, when I realized that I wasn't sure if I should say

What is missing are connections

or

What are missing are connections

I think it should be the second one, but I'm not sure.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, tchrist, David M, MrHen, choster Mar 26 '14 at 15:31

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.

4

The subject is What is missing.
What is missing is a clause.
Clausal noun phrases are automatically singular.

Therefore what's correct is

  • What is missing is connections

The fact that the predicate noun is plural is quite irrelevant to verb agreement with the subject NP.

  • Does this put "What's important are the related usages" in the same class as "There's two ways of looking at this"? It seems to me that in both those constructions, the first word[s] has acquired a kind of "autonomy" allowing native speakers to ignore (or at least, downplay) any apparent plurality conflict with whatever follows. – FumbleFingers Mar 25 '14 at 0:12
  • 1
    Contraction does that. It reifies words and they often lose properties they had when they weren't contracted, and gain others. – John Lawler Mar 25 '14 at 0:21
  • Could you please provide a reference for this grammatical rule? Or a page with more examples similar to this sentence: "What is missing is connections"? – Shah Nov 28 '14 at 5:59
0

The second one seems correct. To make it simpler you could shorten it down to, "What connections are missing?"

The duplication of "are" in your sample sentence might be the reason you're doubting yourself.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.