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When I need to focus on a specific instance of a subject, but want to include a clarifying remark making it plural, I may set off that secondary statement like this:

The state of Florida (and 27 other states in the US) has/have Right-To-Work laws.

I'm not asking about parenthetical pluralization where you add an optional (s) to the subject when the quantity is not known (e.g. vendor(s) as in this post), but a clarifying statement that is part of the subject (or maybe it isn't; that's what I'm asking).

So is the subject of this sentence above singular or plural? Which is the correct usage in my example?

marked as duplicate by marcellothearcane, user66974, sumelic, Hank, Laurel Aug 4 '17 at 23:17

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    Parenthetical pluralization — adding an optional (s) to a word to make it conditionally plural — is not the same thing as a parenthetical statement, as in my example above. Clarified. – Robert Cartaino Aug 4 '17 at 16:52
  • @JasperLoy Yes, we were making similar changes and it can get messy at times. I'm not sure how such issues are resolved internally, but I doubled-checked where we may have collided and approved your edit. Thanks. – Robert Cartaino Aug 4 '17 at 17:11
  • @Robert: Point taken. I'll retract the closevote. I suppose the same applies to Changing plurality in parentheses, but what about my own Singular or plural verb form where subject includes a “parenthetical” element? It seems to me this is about real language (as spoken, not just orthographic triva), so it's irrelevant that my example "parenthetical element" wasn't in fact enclosed in parentheses (in the written version which is all we have available here on ELU! :). – FumbleFingers Aug 4 '17 at 17:19
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According to Chicago manual of style:

Q. If words in parentheses would turn a singular subject into a plural subject, should the verb (outside the parentheses) be plural? I’m wondering specifically whether “applies” should be “apply” in this sentence: A case such as this illustrates a broader category in which justice (and, therefore, injustice) no longer applies.

A. Your sentence is correct as written. Parenthetical content should not leach into the syntax of the containing sentence. If the information is so important that you feel it shouldn’t be ignored, take it out of parentheses: A case such as this illustrates a broader category in which justice and injustice no longer apply.

I think it is a matter of style rather than grammar ( if I were to read it aloud I would probably use the plural, as the parentheses cannot be heard).

The quote is from a Q&A, and might just be the opinion of the person answering the question.

  • This case may be slightly different: an apple (and a pear) is a beautiful fruit is easier to 'accept' than an apple (and several pears) is a beautiful fruit. – Cerberus Aug 4 '17 at 17:24
  • If you're contractually obliged to follow CMOS, that's all there is to it. But a Google search for "he and by implication we" suggests to me that in practice, almost everyone continues that subject with a plural verb. And in reality, it's syntactically irrelevant whether the parenthetical element is written using brackets or not. – FumbleFingers Aug 4 '17 at 17:28
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    (That's to say: I can't downvote because I assume you're accurately citing CMOS. But I think it's a rubbish position.) – FumbleFingers Aug 4 '17 at 17:29
  • I think it is a matter of style rather than grammar. The quote is from a Q&A, and might just be the opinion of the person answering the question. – Stefan Aug 4 '17 at 17:39
  • @Stefan I think you should add that as a note in your answer as well. "I think it is a matter of style rather than grammar. The quote is from a Q&A, and might just be the opinion of the person answering the question." – NVZ Aug 4 '17 at 17:45

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