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So I've been learning German on Duolingo (great app by the way if you want to learn a language). I know you guys don't want translations here, but this is more about the English.

Of course, not all translations can be word for word. The German sentence was

Mehr Optionen sind immer besser.

I put this and got it wrong

More options is always better.

Now, "sind" means "are" in German, but that's beside the point. Some things just work differently in different languages. I can understand "are always better" being right. But I think that the concept of having more options is always better. And I also think that you can shorten the concept of having more options to more options. To me, "more options" is a state that you are in in which you have better leverage and control.

Am I right? Does "More options" here take a singular verb?

  • 1
    I think you want to know whether a subject of More options can have a singular verb, right? What was the “right” answer supposed to have been, are instead? We have questions about that sort of thing if so, like saying “Is three scoops enough?” Also, you might care to join the German Language site if you haven’t yet. – tchrist Jul 29 '14 at 3:58
  • Duolingo is a terrible place. You can't argue with it. – user85526 Jul 29 '14 at 4:01
  • Lol @GeorgeCapote. Can you give me a reason why? – Millie Smith Jul 29 '14 at 4:08
  • @tchrist Yep that was the question. That's a good point. Thanks. And I'll check it out. – Millie Smith Jul 29 '14 at 4:09
  • Why you can't argue with it? Because it's not sentient. – user85526 Jul 29 '14 at 4:09
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I agree with your analysis.

Indeed, your approach avoids the ambiguity that would be created by pluralizing the verb.

"More options are always better" could mean:

1) The concept of having more options is always better

2) The extra options are always better

"More options is always better" restricts the possible meaning to the one described at 1).

  • Thanks. I'll give more people time to answer, and if no one does, I'll accept yours. – Millie Smith Jul 29 '14 at 4:11

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