Should I use "is increasing" or "are increasing" in this sentence:

Second, the frequency of attacks and number of deaths is increasing.

The original post uses "is". Is it British English?

SOURCE FinancialTimes The ‘war on terror’ is going backwards By Gideon Rachman January 19 2015 http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zNx0ufCLzAwJ:www.ft.com/cms/s/0/98cf268c-9fd2-11e4-aa89-00144feab7de.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=kr&client=safari

marked as duplicate by anongoodnurse, Edwin Ashworth, tchrist, Drew, Barmar Feb 8 '15 at 6:37

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  • While in isolation this appears wrong (and may rightfully be supported as incorrect), in the context of the article - that terrorism is increasing worldwide - and the previous sentence ("First, jihadi groups are operating in more parts of the world"), I take it to mean terrorist activity (as evidenced by the frequency of attacks and the number of deaths) is increasing. It doesn't sound bad to my ear, and the quality of writing is high. But that is my reading, and my descriptivist leanings. – anongoodnurse Feb 6 '15 at 8:40

If you use 'is', the statement 'the frequency of attacks' is left unmodified and so becomes meaningless. 'Gideon Rachman' is not an English name, so that could be the source of the confusion. Also with 'is', even if we avoided the first problem, 'the' would have to come before 'number'.

  • 1
    "In the solipsistic world of US politics, it is natural for politicians to assume the problem somehow begins in Washington. Democrats cite President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. The Republicans claim President Obama withdrew from Iraq prematurely." This was written by Gideon Rachman. Can you write this well? Please do not base your answers on such a terrible presupposition. -1 from me. – anongoodnurse Feb 6 '15 at 8:29

This is wrong - nothing to do with British English. 'are' should come in place of 'is'.

  • You have been encouraged on numerous occasions to include a source (or something!) supporting your opinions. Why are you so sure are is correct? Please look at well-recieved answers to see what is expected on this site. The site tour and the help center provides guidance on how to use EL&U. (I will gladly remove my down vote once you do so.) – anongoodnurse Feb 6 '15 at 8:17
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    I'm not sure I'll remove mine; there is no mention of the acceptability of notional concord with coordinated subjects here. I'd probably use 'are' in OP's example myself, but prefer 'is' in this (UK) Government HSE article: 'Health and safety is about stopping you getting hurt at work or ill through work.' – Edwin Ashworth Feb 6 '15 at 9:17

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