0

This question already has an answer here:

Many small companies have difficulty growing because the number of orders becomes too large to handle.

Should I use become or becomes in this sentence? I don't know, but the sentence feels a little odd to me.

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, TimLymington, Andrew Leach Aug 17 '14 at 20:55

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.

  • 3
    It's correct. Becomes refers to number and not orders. Number is singular, so the word describing it should be plural, hence becomes. – Manish Giri Aug 17 '14 at 17:57
  • Thanks! Can you reply with an answer below so I can mark it as the answer? – arao6 Aug 17 '14 at 18:05
  • As this has been answered here before, an answer would not be appropriate. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 17 '14 at 19:09
  • Answered before at A number of questions "has been" or "have been" asked? (see Martha's answer). – Edwin Ashworth Aug 17 '14 at 19:09
1

Many small companies have difficulty growing because the number of orders becomes too large to handle.

In your sentence, you need to see what exactly is becomes describing. Whether you should use "become" or "becomes" depends on what the word intends to describe- number or orders.

because the number of orders becomes too large to handle

Here, becomes refers to number. Number is used as singular here, so you should use becomes.

When you intend to refer to orders instead, that is when you would use become, as in this (hypothetical) example:

Many small companies have difficulty growing because their orders become too large to handle.

Also take a look at this and this. They describe some basic rules to help deal with similar sentences.

  • But that would change the meaning. It would mean that the size of individual orders become too large. What the OP wants to say is that the number of orders has become too large. They are two quite different things. – WS2 Aug 17 '14 at 19:25
  • I agree, which is why I said hypothetical example. The intent is to explain to OP that number of orders is described by becomes, and in some other context, orders would be described by become. I think it's perhaps clear to OP that the second sentence is just to show the difference in usage, without taking into account the change in meaning. However, if you think it necessary, please feel free to edit the example. – Manish Giri Aug 17 '14 at 19:41
1

Many small companies have difficulty growing because the number of orders becomes too large to handle.

If you cross out "of orders," which is a prepositional phrase modifying "number," you see that the verb become is referring to number. Number is singular, so you would use becomes. "Of orders" can be safely ignored because it is a modifier:

Typically the modifier can be removed without affecting the grammar of the sentence. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_modifier)

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