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Which is correct?

  1. Fourteen pennies are worth fourteen cents.

  2. Fourteen pennies is worth fourteen cents.

The former, to me, sounds like "Each of the fourteen pennies is worth fourteen cents." The "is" in the latter, to me, refers to the collection of all pennies as a single unit.

  • Interesting question, because while i believe the former to be correct, i actually say the latter. I hope there is an explanation on its way... – Mark Ch Jan 12 '16 at 21:15
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It all depends on if your subject is singular or plural.

In your direct example it would be "fourteen pennies are" because the subject is "pennies" and it is plural.

In your explanation after your examples you would use "is" because the subject has now changed to Eachwhich is singular. "Of the fourteen pennies" becomes a prepositional phrase.

  • I guess in my head I see "fourteen pennies" in this context as a singular unit. For instance, "Fourteen pennies as a whole is fourteen cents." – Moya Jan 17 '16 at 17:24
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I suggest you stick with "fourteen pennies are worth fourteen cents" because people will recognize it as correct.

But there is something funny here I don't understand. For example "A dozen eggs are worth $4" and "A dozen eggs is worth $4" are both acceptable to me. But "Twelve eggs is worth $4" is not.

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