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This was a question from a test given to our students. The question was "What do you think the best form of transportation is for your city" Most of the students answer in this manner:

"I think the best form of transportation in my city is/are buses."

Which one is correct, "is buses" or "are buses"? Should there also be a definite article "the" before "buses"?

  • There are multiple examples on the site, as regards choice of verb in cases where the subject number differs from the object number - for example here – WS2 May 19 '16 at 8:32
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The verb should be is. There is no doubt about that, since the subject of the sentence The best form of transportation is singular.

However I do not consider the sentence idiomatic (perhaps because a singular subject and a plural object sounds awkward).

I would say:

The best form of transport in the city is (by) bus. The by is optional.

There are multiple examples on the site of choice of verb where the subject number differs from the object number - for example here

  • Basing from your sample sentence, should the original sentence be "The best form of transportation is buses" or "is bus"? – Nikkita Marie May 19 '16 at 8:35
  • I would simply say The best form of transport is bus i.e. bus-transportation – WS2 May 19 '16 at 8:37
  • Note that is the bus would be perfectly acceptable to me; are buses is plain wrong, plus opens up the need for a plural earlier, i.e. forms of transport are buses, which is just making it worse. – Prof Yaffle May 19 '16 at 9:01
  • @ProfYaffle Yes, I think it would be better with the article. Good suggestion. The best form of transport is the bus.The only slight problem with it is that it sort of conveys an impression (in some minds) of there only being one bus. And all of us, on both sides of the water are increasingly speaking to non-native speakers who are not as idiomatically literate as natives. – WS2 May 19 '16 at 10:57

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