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I'm trying to clear this up for a client. He's using the slogan "When Time, Quality and Value Matters – Count on TEAM."

"Matters" sounds completely wrong to me so I changed it to "matter" on his graphics temporarily, but he's insistent that it's "matters". I know that when you break the sentence up into parts, the verb used would be "matters", but does that change when the 3 items are together in one list?

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    "Time, Quality and Value" [emphasis added] is plural, and takes a plural verb. It matters not whether the list has three items, ten, or two. It would be different if it were an "or" list, however, and perhaps that's what has your client confused. – PellMel May 18 '16 at 18:43
  • @PellMel, I believe you are right. (For clarity, the plural verb here is just plain matter: these things matter.) Also, matter just sounds better here. – dangph May 19 '16 at 6:51
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I believe your client is wrong. To help persuade him, you could point out that as is it parses like a list of three items:

  1. time
  2. quality
  3. "value matters"

making the reader think What are "value matters"?

You want it to be a rephrasing of

"When time matters, quality matters and value matters, count on TEAM."

But when you put the three things in a list you need to use the plural form, "matter", not "matters", like "All of your needs matter to us".

For an alternative, I'd suggest this, which I think is a nicer way to get across the meaning that time, quality and value are all equally important:

"When Time, Quality and Value all matter – count on TEAM."

Here, "all" clarifies that what is different about TEAM is that they give equal importance to all three of these things (the three things which you can never achieve at once according to the classic "development triangle").

I've also taken out all of the unnecessary capitalisation, except for that on the three key components you're trying to emphasise.

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If these things matter, then come to us. If this list (or just one thing on it) matters, then come to us. (And as I edit this I realize I have just rephrased what @PellMel wrote in a comment.)

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