I'm having an internal debate between using the plural or singular form ('is' or 'are') in the following sentence.

"400 milliliters of water is too much".

Saying "400 milliliters of water are too much." doesn't sound grammatically correct. Is this because I am declaring the entirety of the subject as a singular noun?

In contrast, what about "Two dogs are too much to take care of" vs "Two dogs is too much to take care of"?

  • I'd use the plural verb only if I were thinking of all those milliliters individually, and then I'd say they're too many rather than too much. Most of the time, "400mL" just specifies an amount of the mass noun "water", so I'd use "is" and "much". Jun 11, 2016 at 1:51
  • In all such cases, paraphrase yourself to ""the quantity 400 milliliters of water…" then ask whether it should be "is" or "are too much"? Feb 7, 2021 at 0:29

1 Answer 1


Measurements are written with singular verbs. http://www.aje.com/en/arc/editing-tip-singular-and-plural-verbs-measured-quantities/

  • Can you copy and past the essential part of the link?
    – user140086
    Jun 21, 2016 at 5:17

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