In episode 11 of season 5 on House M.D. Dr. Cuddy says to the patient:

The damage to the heart and liver are permanent.

Is it correct? Shouldn't it be is permanent since it refers to the word damage which is an uncountable noun which usually takes a verb in the singular form like sugar *is* bad?

  • 1
    To separate the two problems, a rephrase 'The damage to the heart and that to the liver are permanent' is necessary. 'Damage' being as you say normally non-count isn't as biddable as 'injuries' (which isn't quite right semantically) here. Feb 8, 2015 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


It should be "is permanent." House is wrong.

Consider that you would say "Permanent damage is done to the heart and liver." Only if you were talking about damages would you say "are done."

  • Except that these are two separate damages, one to the heart and one to the liver. I'd say that justifies 'are'.
    – Jim Mack
    Feb 9, 2015 at 0:38
  • 3
    I'd say that's true only if you say "The damages to the heart and liver are permanent." 'Damage' is singular, regardless of what it describes. Would you say, "Look at all these damage to the heart and liver"? No.
    – user108909
    Feb 9, 2015 at 3:47

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