I want to emphasize that I only have 5 dollars, so can I use the sentence:

Five dollars is all I have.

Or must it be:

Five dollars are all I have.

Please give the explanation as well.

  • 4
    Yep, "is all" is the idiomatic way to say it. The money is regarded as a single entity, just like "This block of gold is all I have." – Hot Licks Oct 16 '16 at 2:33
  • Similar to 6 weeks is/are all I have. Both are acceptable, depending on whether you consider 5 dollars/6 weeks to be one unit or separate units – Alan Carmack Nov 15 '16 at 4:54

It all depends on the context. If we refer to five dollars as a single entity, then the verb that follows must be singular. If we refer to "five dollars" as five separate pieces of 1 dollar , then the verb must be plural.

  • True, but the idiomatic usage in most circumstances is to refer to a quantity of money as a single entity, while referring to five dollar bills separately would be a usage that would only apply in highly unusual circumstances. – ohwilleke Nov 15 '16 at 5:05

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