In the article about Dismaland there is a paragraph saying:

Inside the walls of a derelict seaside swimming resort in Weston-super-Mare, UK, mysterious construction over the last month—including a dingy looking Disney-like castle and a gargantuan rainbow-colored pinwheel tangled in plastic—suggested something big was afoot. Suspicion and anticipation surrounding the unusual activity attributed to fabled artist and provocateur Banksy has reached a Willy Wonka-esque fervor. Well, if Banksy’s your bag, continue fervoring. If not, there’s more than a few reasons to continue reading.

I'm not sure if I understand the meaning of this bold sentence correctly. I tried to divide it into two sentences:

The unusual activity (was) attributed to fabled artist and provocateur Banksy. Suspicion and anticipation has reached a Willy Wonka-esque fervor.

But now I don't know - is it possible to use 'has' as a predicate for two things (suspicion and anticipation)?

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    The author is treating "suspicion and anticipation" as a single entity. This is a legitimate approach, albeit one that some purists would object to. – Hot Licks Jan 19 '16 at 21:15
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    @HotLicks: I'm not a purist, but the author of the passage could use a dozen lashes in Trafalgar Square at noon for being a conceited moron. – Ricky Jan 19 '16 at 21:27

Good catch.

Apart from the fact that the passage is awfully worded, yes, the plural form is in order here.

  • 3
    Nah. It's just a stylistic choice. When the two words can easily be thought of as a single combination, such as fame and fortune, it's perfectly okay to treat them as syntactically singular. Just because OP's example is clumsy doesn't alter the fact that the writer clearly intends suspicion and anticipation to be seen as a "natural" pair. – FumbleFingers Jan 19 '16 at 21:10
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    @FumbleFingers: Good point, sort of; however, contrary to the author's intentions, _suspicion and anticipation are not a natural pair. – Ricky Jan 19 '16 at 21:13
  • That specific point is one of the reasons why I agree your "awfully worded" assessment. – FumbleFingers Jan 19 '16 at 21:19

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