Should it be:

Punctuation and grammar is important.

or should it be:

Punctuation and grammar are important.

Does it make any difference in the following sentence:

Both punctuation as well as grammar ... important in sentence construction.

  • 2
    The subject is a coordination of two nouns linked with "and". The coordination as a whole denotes a set containing two members, and hence takes a plural verb
    – BillJ
    Feb 10 '18 at 8:04
  • To the extent you think BillJ isn't correct, why not take your Question to English Language Learners, please? Feb 23 '18 at 22:06
  • The use of "with" in the third sentence isn't strictly correct, no matter what verb you use. "Both" should be coordinated with "and", not with "with". Jun 11 '18 at 0:42

It depends on what you mean by "punctuation and grammar," because what you mean determines the grammar, determines whether you sould use "is" or "are" in that sentence.

"Punctuation and grammar are important."

In the above sentence, you have the subject of a sentence being composed of two or more independent nouns or pronouns connected by the coordinating conjunction "and," so you use a plural verb, which in this case is "are."


"Punctuation and grammar is important."

In the above sentence, you are treating "punctuation and grammar" as a singular compound subject, not two independent nouns joined by the coordinating conjunction "and," so the verb is singular, which in this case is "is."

Not all subjects using "and" to connect nouns are actually plural, nor are all ostensibly plural subjects that end in S actually plural. Sentence subjects that have multiple nouns connected by "and" or a plural noun ending in S but that nonetheless refer to a singular thing require singular verbs include:

  • Green eggs and ham is delicious to Sam-I-Am.
  • Statistics is too hard for me.
  • Black and white is what films and TV used to be shown in.
  • Politics is annoying and rude to bring up at the dinner table.
  • Bangers and mash isn't as good as it's cracked up to be.
  • The news is on.
  • My wife and best friend is whom I wake up next to every morning.
  • Avionics is becoming more flight-friendly focused.
  • Supply and demand is fundamental in the study of economics.
  • Genital warts is highly contagious but preventable with a vaccine.
  • Spaghetti and meatballs is popular with the kids in the school lunch program.

So the subject of your sentence might appear to be plural at first blush, but by using "is," you are specifically signaling to the reader that it is not plural, that "punctuation and grammar" is in fact one thing, like a subject you may have in school or a singular concept that you refer to as "punctuation and grammar."

To be clear, when you use "is" after your subject containing "and," you are saying that the subject is not two independent nouns, "punctuation" and "grammar," but a singular compound noun, "punctuation and grammar."



"Punctuation, as well as grammar, is important."

In the above sentence, the subject is "punctuation." "Grammar" is not part of the subject. The only way to join multiple singular subjects together to form a plural subject is by using the coordinating conjunction "and." Phrases like "as well as" and "along with" do not add what follows to the subject or its count.




Punctuation and grammar are important

The noun in this sentence is punctuation and grammar. When a noun is plural you always use are

If the noun in the sentence had been singular, then is would have been used. For example:

Punctuation is important

Thus, the third sentence would also require are not is because the noun is still plural, you're just using a different conjunction.

For further reading: Is vs Are

  • 1
    I think that is a misleading way of putting it. There is no plural noun. The subject is a coordination of two singular nouns linked with "and". The coordination as a whole denotes a set containing two members, and hence takes a plural verb.
    – BillJ
    Feb 10 '18 at 8:02

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