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"One of the sources of water in our country are the rivers" in this sentence, wasn't it supposed to be 'is' instead of 'are'? Normally we say "One of my friends is responsible for this," don't we?

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Yes, you're right. Is is correct. It should state, "One of the sources of water in our country is the rivers."

The conjugation of the verb to be should be in the third-person singular present indicative in order to agree with the third-person singular subject one. Sometimes people get confused by prepositional phrases that come between the subject subject and verb, particularly when they involve plurals. However, prepositional phrases are never part of the subject and never change its number.

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  • Would you please check the comment of FumbleFingers above? The answer supports the idea of using plural verb! This is confusing! – Farhan Fuad Jan 4 '16 at 18:59
  • But if the result sounds awkward (and it does), just say it differently. e.g. One of the sources of water in this country is from rivers. – WS2 Jan 4 '16 at 19:03
  • FumbleFingers marked this as a duplicate question, but it's not a duplicate of either of the questions he provided links to. At first blush, the construction of your sentence may look the same, but it's not the same. – Benjamin Harman Jan 4 '16 at 23:10
  • I went to the links and read their answers as you asked. They don't use the same construction, so they don't apply here. In order for your question's sentence to match those in the links, it would have to be written, "One of the sources of water THAT is/are..." In this alternate construction, the word "that" is used and creates a confusion about which is the subject performing the verb: the singular "one" or the plural "sources". Since your sentence isn't constructed this way using "that," it doesn't create the same confusion. Your sentence leaves no doubt that "one" is the subject. – Benjamin Harman Jan 4 '16 at 23:17

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