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I am writing an article and I am not sure what to choose "it is" or "these are" in the following sentence:

LIMS - it's dedicated hardware and software systems, aimed at the automation of the analytical laboratory.

I suppose it should be "these are", because there are "systems" in plural, but LIMS means "Laboratory Information Management System" which is singular.

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Firstly, you should be asking for the difference between it is and they are; alternatively, the difference between this is and these are.

You have said in your question that LIMS is a system, by definition. Note, also that you can combine hardware and software systems into one larger system. Therefore you should use the singular. However, this leaves you with two slightly awkward sentences to choose between, both of which appear to be written by a non-native English speaker.

  • "LIMS - it's a dedicated hardware and software system..."
  • "LIMS - this is a dedicated hardware or software system..."

Depending on the context, I would recommend one of the following

  • "LIMS, a dedicated hardware and software system..." (for use in text where this sentence will continue to say what LIMS does)

  • "LIMS - a dedicated hardware and software system..." (for use in a caption, key or similar)

  • "LIMS is a dedicated hardware and software system..." (for use in text where this sentence will only describe what LIMS is).

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