There are a whole slew of academic articles.

To me, it seems that this sentence should say "There is a whole slew of academic articles," because the agreement should be with "slew." But I'm having a hard time finding which is correct and why after much Googling.

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, choster, Centaurus, NVZ, Skooba Oct 30 '17 at 15:11

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  • Since "slew" is colloquial, either is fine. I'd say, "There's a whole slew of academic articles." but would write something more formal, like "There are very many academic articles." – RonJohn Oct 29 '17 at 14:08

According to this Oxford dictionary article, both are correct. "Slew" is a collective noun, like "team" or "group". And in general:

[T]he verb form used can depend on the emphasis of the sentence, and accepted regional usage, so no wonder many people are confused. In British English it’s absolutely fine to treat most collective nouns as either singular or plural – you can say my husband's family is very religious or my husband's family are very religious.

[...] in American English you are much more likely to see, for example:

His company's legal team is investigating the matter.

rather than:

His company's legal team are investigating the matter.

So both "is" and "are" are acceptable here.

  • I'd say this is notional agreement with vague quantifiers rather than notional agreement with collective/group nouns (the latter of which has been done to death here). – Edwin Ashworth Oct 29 '17 at 9:22

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