Which is correct? "When quality and integrity matter..." or "When quality and integrity matters..."?

  • 3
    What do you think, and why? Questions asking for correctness decisions without context usually get closed without answer; we don't do your thinking for you. May 13 '15 at 15:00
  • Sometimes with these lesser-used, yet "heavy" nouns and objects, things feel a little weird. Try simplifying it a bit. When John walks to the store, he buys a cola. When John and Jacob walk to the store, John buys them both a cola.
    – ebwb
    May 13 '15 at 15:02

The number agreement of verbs in English is largely semantic, so you should ask: does the subject of "matter" refer to just one thing, or does it refer to several things? In difficult cases, the answer will not be obvious, and the answer might not be determinate.


There are two objects in this sentence, quality and integrity. They both matter. Thus, it's when quality and integrity matter.

  • 1
    That assumes that quality and integrity are independent count nouns that have nothing in common. If they are merely different aspects of the same phenomenon (which is what the OP appears to be wanting), then they're singular mass nouns and their concatenation is too. May 13 '15 at 16:02
  • 1
    Peanut butter and jelly is my favorite sandwich.
    – Scott
    Sep 4 '17 at 22:00

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