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Which is correct:

Her pride and joy are ... Her pride and joy is ...

Or does the use of 'are' or 'is' in this case depend on whether the object of the sentence is singular or plural?

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If you're using "pride and joy" as a set phrase, you're talking about that one thing that is dearest to you, so in that case it's singular:

My pride and joy is a restored 1964 Mustang convertible.

If you're talking about feelings, the the phrase is an ordinary compound and is plural:

Pride and joy are two infectious emotions.

  • Can "pride and joy", when used as a set phrase ever refer to more than one thing? My pride and joy are my two restored Mustangs? – August Detlefsen Oct 9 '15 at 6:12
  • @AugustDetlefsen Can it? Of course. If you use the google on the search term "pride and joy are," you'll get about 27K hits. That will miss a few instances when words stand between the the subject and the verb, and there will be a few false drops, e.g., for commercial establishments called "Pride and Joy": "We here at P&J are here to serve you!" But there are 8.5M hits for the the phrase "pride and joy," so I think the overwhelming usage is in the sense of "the pride and joy." – deadrat Oct 9 '15 at 6:30
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It depends on the subject of the sentence:
My kids are my pride & joy.
My daughter is my pride & joy.

  • In these examples, isn't 'pride and joy' the object of the sentence? – August Detlefsen Oct 9 '15 at 6:01
  • @AugustDetlefsen Oops, a typo! – Nikita Shrivastava Oct 9 '15 at 6:10
  • @AugustDetlefsen Subjective complements – deadrat Oct 9 '15 at 6:25

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