What is the correct way to say:

There are in total 485 devices spread over 46 accounts.


There is a total of 485 devices spread over 46 accounts.

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Mari-Lou A, mplungjan, jimm101, Davo Dec 1 '17 at 12:34

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    Different constructions. In the first, "in total" is an adjunct, an optional element that has no bearing on agreement. The complement (displaced subject) of "be" is plural, so the verb should be the plural "are". Things are different in the second example: "total" is probably best treated as a non-count quantificational noun, i.e. it is number-transparent so agreement is determined not by the head but by the noun that is complement of the prep "of". The meaning of "total" is such that the embedded noun (here, "devices") must be plural,thus plural "are" would be correct. – BillJ Dec 1 '17 at 10:28
  • The first construction is much better for the reasons BillJ gave. The second construction is technically grammatical but awkward: "There is a total" implies there might be another total. If you don't want to imply that someone disagrees with your count, don't use that construction. – Spencer Dec 1 '17 at 11:24

There are is the correct form since there are multiple devices and in English the inflection in such expressions follows devices (plural) rather than total (single).

  • Lacking research. Both are actually used, with either formal or notional agreement, as evidenced at the duplicate. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 1 '17 at 8:56

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