I have a question about verb agreement. Can I use "has" after [being + noun]?

For example, is has the correct form of the verb in the following sentence?

Being a celebrity has both some advantages and some disadvantages.

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    Possible duplicate of Gerund Phrase as Subject – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '16 at 9:56
  • I get 32,400 results for "being a celebrity has". Have you tried it? – user140086 Nov 21 '16 at 10:03
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    Agreement has been covered at entertaining multiple goals makes/make a person's life stressful. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '16 at 12:30
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    @EdwinAshworth It's my opinion, but I don't think it is a good idea to close it as duplicate. I think the question is general reference and the OP should include his research effort and state what he understands from his research and what bothers him most. – user140086 Nov 21 '16 at 13:09
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    @Araucaria If the issue is 'the OP is clearly confused and doesn't understand the difference between singular and plural agreement', the question is certainly too basic for ELU. Your answer hinges on clauses taking singular agreement; with the gerund-participial [CGEL] clause OP asks about here, this has certainly been addressed at the previous thread. If your answer is superior (and it may well be), the place to post it is in the original thread. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '16 at 15:02

Being a celebrity has both some advantages and some disadvantages.

The Subject of this sentence is the clause being a celebrity. Clauses functioning as Subject take singular verb agreement. It doesn't matter what type of clause it is. The Original Poster's example sentence happens to use a subject-less gerund-participle clause. This clause also happens to be a declarative clause. However, clauses of almost any description will take singular verb agreement:

  • [What the elephants found] is not important.
  • [Whether to go or not] is not the most important question.
  • [That the students never finish their essays] really annoys me.
  • [For Bob to say that] is extraordinarily hypocritical.
  • [To err] is human.
  • [Eating vegetables] is good for you.

So in the Original Poster's example the form of the verb has is completely grammatical.

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    You've convinced me that, on balance, a (much) better answer outweighs the duplication issues. I've checked quite a few 'singular or plural after gerund-participial' questions here, and all of them claim that the g-p 'is singular' (obviously, if it's become count it's deverbal) when they should stick with 'takes singular agreement'. I've tinkered with your answer so as to be able to rescind the -1. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '16 at 15:42
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    +1 It might be worthwhile (just to avoid the need for future clarification) to provide an example or two in which the subject of the subordinate clause is plural. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 22 '16 at 21:01
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    If I might express a mild reservation, I don't think your examples show how strong an attraction there is to the singular in these cases. I think we'd still say Whatever Bertha and Tabitha did was amazing even though we have two people doing multiple things. We'd only go to the plural with a different structure -- Things Bertha did were amazing. (Is that right?) Again, Their eating vegetables is good for them even though multiple people are eating multiple things. To err and to persist in error is human still works, I think, but it could go the other way. – deadrat Nov 22 '16 at 21:46
  • @StoneyB, Deadrat, Some helpful feedback. Thanks! Will tend to it tomorrow :) Btw, Deadrat, as SB also said, I do indeed need better examples with plural subjects. The Things Bertha did were amazing, example is as you say a different structure, where it is an NP headed by things with a modifying relative clause. Thanks guys :) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Nov 22 '16 at 22:14
  • @deadrat Aargh. Your example just made me realise that I made a big rubharb in my first example, which was also an NP, not a clause. Have put a (rather ambiguous) sticking plaster on it till tomorrow. Am trying to do some uni work ... . – Araucaria - Not here any more. Nov 22 '16 at 23:20

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