Should I use make or makes in the following statement:

Please explain why your experience and qualifications makes you the best candidate for this position


"Make" should be used here, but the reason is not simply because there is a multiple subject. The rule for subject-verb agreement when there is a multiple subject is this:

If the multiple subjects are joined by and, then the verb is plural.
If the multiple subjects are joined by or/nor then the verb is singular.


The orange, banana, and the jar always sit on the shelf when it rains.
In this scenario, either Job, Barney, or Rachel runs to Mrs. Norris and gives her a piece of fish.

Thus, in your case, "make" is used because your multiple subject is joined by "and".

  • One edge case here is when your multiple subjects that are joined by 'or' are themselves plural, in which case the plural verb is still used: Either the Johnsons or the Andersons visit Old Mrs. Hendricks every week. – Hellion Aug 2 '11 at 20:05
  • @Thursagen Well, this means that the rule doesn't change. Because when you are using "or", you are rather referring to a single entity with your verb and thus there is only one subject. Just my thoughts... – Omar Abid Aug 2 '11 at 22:58
  • If the compound subjects notionally comprise a composite whole, singular agreement is often preferred: 'Fish and chips is certainly not my favourte meal.' 'Health and safety is of paramount importance.' – Edwin Ashworth Sep 14 '16 at 15:56

You should use 'make' because the opening phrase contains a list of things (experience and qualifications).

Please explain why [list of things] make you the best candidate...

As opposed to:

Please explain why [one thing] makes you the best candidate...

protected by Mari-Lou A Jul 20 '17 at 20:00

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