Should a list of items be introduced with is or with are? Does the verb agree with a singular list or with multiple items in the list?

Next in the row is/are Khorasan-e-‎Razavi, Esfahan, Khuzestan, Fars and East ‎‎Azarbayejan provinces with 5.3, 4.6, 3.9, 3.6 and 2.8 million persons respectively.


As you are introducing multiple items, you would use are, e.g.:

The remaining teams in the World Cup are Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Netherlands

You would use is for a single item:

The next item on the shopping list is bread

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    This is, of course, cheating. You have changed the sentence dramatically by conveniently introducing an all-new subject, "teams", preceding the list. So sure enough it's "the teams are", nobody in his right mind would consider "the teams is". But the original sentence has no "the teams". It has no subject there at all. The subject are the list items themselves. – RegDwigнt Jul 10 '14 at 8:48
  • 1
    You are, of course, free to downvote and supply your own answer. – ElendilTheTall Jul 10 '14 at 9:37

The sentence elides an important noun: Next what ? Group? Set?

Whatever it is, it is of the nature of a collection and therefore requires the singular for of is.

meta: Fuller context could help determine with more confidence. I believe there's a previous direct or indirect reference.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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