Which form of be is correct:

Very small amounts of salt that [is/are] present in commercial fish foods also help aquatic species remain in balance.

closed as off-topic by Erik Kowal, Roaring Fish, anongoodnurse, choster, Drew Jan 1 '15 at 3:30

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  • The question was clear enough to me. I've edited it for clarity, however. The edit is pending review. – Jim Reynolds Dec 30 '14 at 8:03
  • possible duplicate of Number agreement between subject and object – Roaring Fish Dec 30 '14 at 8:12
  • 1
    @RoaringFish Not really, because the issue here is whether the relative clause is modifying various amounts of salt or just salt! :) – Araucaria Dec 30 '14 at 16:15

Are is correct because amounts is plural:

Very small amounts of salt that are present...

Amount is usually uncountable, which may be one reason behind the need to ask the question. But it is sometimes countable, and it is a countable noun in this context.

You can also leave out [that are]. The following is grammatically standard:

Very small amounts of salt present in commercial fish foods also help aquatic species remain in balance.

  • Right answer for the wrong reason. It is are because amounts is plural, not because it is countable. It could be phrased as "The very small amount of salt that is present..." – Roaring Fish Dec 30 '14 at 8:17
  • I've modified the explanation. Thanks. I suspect that some people might not know that amount is sometimes countable, and therefore capable of being plural. – Jim Reynolds Dec 30 '14 at 14:15

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