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I am having difficulty deciding which of the following is correct:

  • Politics both fascinates and repulses him.
  • Politics both fascinate and repulse him.

I think, in part, this is because I am unsure if 'politics' is the subject.

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    The subject is politics (singular in this case). You might be interested in our sister site, English Language Learners; you can find it here. It is helpful in answering basic questions. – anongoodnurse Sep 30 '14 at 18:48
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That depends on what you want to say. If you are talking about politics in general, use the singular:

Politics both fascinates and repulses him.

If, however, you are referring to specific politics, for example those of a person, use the plural:

John's politics both fascinate and repulse him.

This is because politics can mean different things. The ones we care about here are (taken from the online Merriam-Webster):

1a : the art or science of government

and

4: the political opinions or sympathies of a person

So, the first example is using sense 1a and the second is using sense 4.

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