I am reading a book and I ran into an interesting sentence in which I cannot recognize the role of the verb in it. How is the use of 'are' justified here? Is it because "visits" can be the so-called subject of the sentence?

The source of his fear are the visits to his childhood home of a family lawyer.

  • 3
    That's not grammatical to most of us. – tchrist Feb 2 '17 at 17:06
  • @tchrist I agree, but it is a trap into which we fall so often that it has an authentic resonance. – WS2 Feb 2 '17 at 17:10
  • In some languages, such as Spanish and German, "are" would be correct. So one could speculate that the author of your book may have been influenced by another language. Hard to tell since you don't give us the author and title. – aparente001 Feb 3 '17 at 3:30

We shouldn't use are there; that sentence is wrong.

The subject of the sentence is source, which is singular, and the verb should agree with that. Unfortunately, the author has fallen into the trap of making the verb agree with the noun that happens to be closest to the verb, and that noun is a plural.

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  • I agree. The source of his fear is the visits; alternately written: the visits are the source of his fear. – Davo Feb 2 '17 at 17:29

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