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When referring to a class of things, especially countable things, I am always confused about singular noun and plural nouns. For example:

Dogs are the most lovely animal in the world.

and

The most lovely animal in the world is dogs.

I know both sentences are grammatical correct because verbs only need to agree with the subject. However, those sentences sound awkward because of mixing singular noun and plural nouns.

So what is the best way to refer a class of countable things?

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    We can use the singular noun -- "The dog is the most lovely animal in the world" -- the singular represents the class.
    – Kris
    Mar 12, 2015 at 5:34
  • Does that mean the + a singular countable can represent a class of things?
    – zx_wing
    Mar 12, 2015 at 5:37
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    That's a good question for English Language Learners -- Have you visited our sister site yet?
    – Kris
    Mar 12, 2015 at 5:39
  • @Kris Thank you I never know that forum, and will move to there now.
    – zx_wing
    Mar 12, 2015 at 5:42
  • You don't have to make the subject agree with the complement, but it's a good idea if there's nothing preventing you. And in this case there isn't. You can say: The dog is the most lovely animal in the world; Dogs are the most lovely animals in the world; The most lovely animal in the world is the dog. Mar 12, 2015 at 14:34

2 Answers 2

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You're nearly there. Sentence 1 should read: Dogs are the most lovely animals in the world. Sentence 2 should read: The most lovely animals in the world are dogs. Generally speaking, plurals are accompanied by "are" when used collectively. Also, in instances like these two sentences, Sentence 1 should be the sentence of choice as it is easier to read and follows a logical pattern.

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Argh. No. You're hurting my ears. Neither sentence is correct. Correct: Dogs are the loveliest animals in the world. The loveliest animals in the world are dogs. But, because you are speaking of a class of animals, you might prefer to say: The dog is the loveliest animal in the world.

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