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I am writing the following sentence and would like to know which option is proper English (or if both are proper):


Option 1: Squaring both sides of (9) and dividing by 2 yields: [math equation]

Option 2: Squaring both sides of (9) and dividing by 2 yield: [math equation]


So the issue is "yield" versus "yields." Option 1 sounds better to me as a native English speaker. The sentence was actually written by my non-native co-author in the option 2 form. This made me wonder which is correct. Option 2 might be validated because both things together can be viewed as plural. Option 1 might be validated because the procedure of both things together is singular. Or perhaps both options are fine?

[Note that the "(9)" in the sentence refers to a numbered equation given earlier in the paper.]

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It's only the two actions taken together as a single unit that yields anything, so the singular is correct. It's not like both of those operations taken each on its own will produce that same result.

  • Very nice and logical! It is comforting to know that what sounded better to me was also correct. Your answer was also mathematically correct (indeed we need both operations together to get the result, either one alone will not work). Thank you. – Michael Jan 26 '17 at 4:12
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    I agree. A non-mathematical example would be "Using good quality leaves, boiling the water properly and leaving the brew to infuse for the right length of time makes a good cup of tea." Omitting any of the stages or completing them less than satisfactorily will not produce a good result, so it is a single, multi-stage process. – BoldBen Jan 26 '17 at 15:05

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