I have the following sentence:

One of the most widely used theoretical frameworks for modelling food webs is/are the Lotka-Volterra equations.

Should it be is, referring to "the one most used framework" or are, referring to "the equations"?

I'm leaning towards is, but it sounds a bit weird with "equations" following it.


  • 2
    You're talking about one of those frameworks, which is obviously singular. Jun 8, 2017 at 18:09
  • 1
    It's certainly entirely grammatical for "is" to be followed by a plural noun. An old question about this topic: Agreement in “(Singular Noun) Is/Are (Plural Noun)”? Verb agreement should be based only on the subject of the sentence, not on any other non-subject noun phrases. You can figure out which phrase is the subject by using the usual rules of thumb related to position and meaning.
    – herisson
    Jun 8, 2017 at 18:10
  • My favourite breakfast is bacon and eggs. Jun 8, 2017 at 18:12
  • Thanks to all three comments. Should this question be closed as a duplicate of the one @sumelic links to, or should I simply delete it? Jun 8, 2017 at 18:13
  • @sumelic No, I think the other question answers it adequately. Please do vote to close as duplicate. Jun 8, 2017 at 18:27

1 Answer 1


The subject in your sentence is "One". As a pronoun, one conjugates the verb in accordance to its grammatical function of the 3rd person of the singular. Therefore, the correct form of the verb 'to be' to use here would be "is". " The Lotka-Volterra equations " does not conjugate the verb as it is the subject complement. As far as "of the most widely used theoretical frameworks for modelling food webs' it is the subject attribute and its presence does not affect the verb either. Although contextually, it provides additional information about the subject,semantically, it is not an essential element of the semantical construction of your sentence.

  • Please don't answer such obviously off-topic questions. it just encourages more. I doubt that ELL would welcome this one. Jun 8, 2017 at 21:32
  • Would you please provide any helpful details on how was I suppose to see this question was obviously off-topic?
    – user230919
    Jun 8, 2017 at 23:30
  • ELU is aimed at linguists. The question should be answered correctly by most 10-year-olds with English as a first language. Jun 9, 2017 at 1:21
  • Perhaps you should read again ( and rewrite) your first commentary which was: " Please don't answer such obviously off-topic questions". I don't understand why this question would be off-topi nor does it coincide to consider how a question could even be off topic? Logically, it appears only an answer could actually be! I hope we won't have the disenchantment to be in the same class when we both turn 11.
    – user230919
    Jun 9, 2017 at 22:11
  • Unless of course in philosophical context, all questions have answers when it comes down to grammar. Regardless of the level of difficulty you may find, be the judge of it if you'd like. There is nothing wrong in providing an answer to an easy question to help someone for whom the answer wouldn't be so obvious or wouldn't have asked it, obviously.
    – user230919
    Jun 9, 2017 at 22:36

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