I thought I had it figured out but then I got confused again. When sending an e-mail in response to a job posting, if the e-mail has attached to it a single copy of your cover letter and single copy of your resume should the body read:

Attached is my cover letter and resume.


Attached are my cover letter and resume.

I google searched the issue and found the following on grammarbook.com

Example: The list of items is/are on the desk. If you know that list is the subject, then you will choose is for the verb.

My confusion is the identification of the subject. Is the subject of a sentence determined given the events surrounding it? For example common sense dictates the person listening cares more about the list and not his desk. How does one identify the subject in a sentence?

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Chenmunka, Edwin Ashworth, Robusto, Mari-Lou A Mar 14 '15 at 21:52

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  • Wrong forum. Somebody needs to move this question to the appropriate forum. – Blessed Geek Mar 13 '15 at 9:07
  • There is the faint possibility that the postposed subject (my cover letter and resume) be preferred to be considered as a single entity, when is might be considered a valid choice. Using the standard example, I suddenly understood why Simeon had insisted we travel the extra three miles to this particular hotel – on the breakfast menu was bacon and eggs!' – Edwin Ashworth Mar 13 '15 at 10:19
  • @BlessedGeek Rather than just saying "Wrong forum", it's more constructive to suggest somewhere better (e.g., English Language Learners) and flag the question for migration. – David Richerby Mar 13 '15 at 11:39
  • I would think it's a red herring. :) – Kris Mar 13 '15 at 12:20
  • @Celeritas I just wanted to say that if you are going through this much trouble to make sure your reply is grammatically correct....you would probably make a good employee. – SUM GUY Mar 13 '15 at 14:53

In this sentence the subject appears after the verb. If you rewrite the sentence with normal subject-verb word order--My resume and cover letter are attached--you can plainly see that the subject of the verb is plural, therefore the verb must be plural. The word "attached" is a subject complement or predicate adjective (terminology varies), not an object. (It's an adjective. An object would have to be a noun or a pronoun.) The sentence is not elliptical. All the words are there, but the normal word order has been inverted.


I think the right sentence is "Attached are my cover letter AND resume." You cannot use or in this case because you sent both of them.

The full sentence is:

The attached files are my cover letter and resume.

"Attached is my cover letter and resume" doesn't sound right because it is a plural if you use the conjunction "and" in between two nouns.


Attached is the adjective, so your sentence seems to be elliptical.

The attached one is my cover letter and resume.

Thus, I think it should be "is". The verb should correspond the subject, not the object.

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