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In the sentence "A junk vehicle is any vehicle, or parts of a vehicle, which meets at least three of the following criteria...," shouldn't "meet" be singular due to the preceding "or"? I've encountered some alternative treatment of situations like this so am confused. Thanks in advance.

marked as duplicate by tchrist Feb 13 '18 at 14:37

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  • Answered at Which is correct: one or more is, or one or more are? (see the first part of Jeanne's contribution: 'It says in Warriner's English Grammar and Composition, Complete Course, Page 92, "[W]hen a singular and a plural subject are joined by 'or', the verb agrees with the nearer subject" ....') (Admittedly, a more difficult question is actually the main focus in that thread, and I disagree with Jeanne that the rule extends smoothly to the 'one or more is/are' construction.) – Edwin Ashworth Mar 6 '17 at 22:12
  • See also Singular or plural verb after a series connected by orand Correct use of is/ are in a list .... @John Lawler, as usual, gives the definitive(?) answer: 'There's no rule that satisfies everybody. This is a lacuna in the grammar; best to simply avoid disjoined subject NPs in the present tense.' – Edwin Ashworth Mar 6 '17 at 22:48
  • "A junk vehicle ( is any vehicle, or parts of a vehicle,) which meets..." It seems to me the subject of 'meets' is 'a junk vehicle'. Anyhow, here there is no compound subject like 'vehicle or parts of vehicle', where as 'parts of vehicle' is the part of the predicate of the total sentence "A junk vehicle is any vehicle, or parts of a vehicle". – mahmud koya Mar 7 '17 at 1:47

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