Is the correct version this:

But in general such verses have rarely been accepted as a genuine part of the book.

OR this:

But in general such verses have rarely been accepted as genuine parts of the book.

2 Answers 2


I (native BrE speaker) think that both sentences are correct but that they express slightly different ideas.

The former sentence, including the phrase "as a genuine part", suggests that the verses referred to form, or rather don't form, one part of the book. I suppose one might think that the whole of chapter X of (name a work of your choice) is made up of the doubtful verses.

In the latter sentence, including the phrase "as genuine parts", suggests that the doubtful verses pop up in various locations throughout a work, some in chapter X, some more in chapter XII, some in chapter XVIII, and so on.

  • Here is the preceding sentence in the note. Does it help clarify the structure of the sentence in question? "Though there are exceptions, like a manuscript titled One, with an additional volume 7 comprising over twenty-one hundred verses, and the English publication of volume 7 attributed to Smith."
    – Lee
    Jul 6, 2014 at 15:15
  • Native AmE speaker here. Concur in full regarding meaning of the two variants.
    – virmaior
    Jul 6, 2014 at 16:44
  • @Lee: The fact that there are two separate parts referred to as "exceptions" might incline one towards plural, but not necessarily. Particularly if collectively they have something in common which means they're "the same kind of thing" in context (very likely, since they were both flagged up as "exceptions"). Jul 6, 2014 at 16:46

I think this is a very good question, and only one does make sense. Although both might sound fairly acceptable, the second example is grammatically correct. The reason for this is because in the first example, it is using the noun "verses" - which is plural- and describing it as "a part" rather than sticking to using plural vocabulary since the verb "verses" is plural. Therefore, the second example - by using "genuine parts" since it's plural - is grammatically correct.

I hope this response helped!

  • 1
    So we should say "computer chips are Taiwan's largest exports" or "peaches are Georgia's largest crops"? Grammatical agreement between subject and complement may be desirable, but is not necessary, in English. Jul 6, 2014 at 20:05
  • ...Yes, it are we who decide on what we'll allow. Jul 8, 2014 at 0:19

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