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Two different types kayaks are being compared. A new paragraph is started to compare their equipment. The first sentence says.

"Equipment for both types of kayaks are similar, and fairly simple."

The bold word is getting reviewed. In reference to that, my choices are

A. No Change

B. is

C. were

D. was

The correct answer is B - "is".

When I replace the bolded section with is, it just sounds wrong. Equipment for both types of kayaks is similar...

My answer was A - "No Change". This just sound right to me.

Please explain why I am wrong so I don't make this mistake again.

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    SR is quite correct with the example given. However, if it is clearly stated that there is more than one item of equipment then ARE is needed. [Example]: The pieces of equipment for both types of kayaks are similar, and fairly simple. – Joe Dark Oct 25 '14 at 9:11
  • You have a point, it just feels wrong. But the subject is 'equipment' which is singular (it is a mass noun like 'water') so the verb must correspond and be 'is'. The verb should not try to match the word near to it, 'kayaks', just because it is near to it. – Mitch Oct 25 '14 at 12:48
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Forget about "for both types of kayaks" for a second. With or without that piece of information the sentence retains it's meaning.Try to imagine the following:

The equipment are similar, and fairly simple.

The above does not sound quite right, does it? How about:

The equipment is similar, and fairly simple.

It's not the kayaks that are similar, it is the equipment.

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I agree with the answer above. I just wanted to share a technique I use for these tricky situations.

On the actual test, take the sentence and cross out any words that are unnecessary to make a complete sentence. In this case you would end up with just

The equipment ___ similar (noun, verb, adjective).

Then you can see which noun you are working with and whether it is singular or plural.

In this case (because they want to trick you), equipment is a collective noun used to group together items like children, council, family. Collective nouns can be either singular (team) or plural (teams). Here is a good reference for understanding them: http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/collectivenoun.htm. I am sure there is also a string in this forum on collective nouns. They are a tricky bunch.

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Since it is the kayaks, and not the equipment, being reviewed, however, might I suggest that the sentence should be rearranged, so that the kayaks are the subject of the sentence, which would read:

Both kayaks had similar, simple equipment.

Fewer words, and keeps the kayaks the subject.

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