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I have a question about the following sentence:

The only artwork in evidence is/are some Greek vases and terracotta objects.

Is it "artwork" that selects the verb-form (therefore "is"), or "Greek vases and terracotta objects" ("are")?

I know the problem could be solved by saying "artworks", but in the context it's talking about a lack of artwork in the surroundings in general, i.e. wall frescoes, mosaics, carvings etc, so the uncountable "artwork" is more appropriate.

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Community Apr 24 '18 at 16:04

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    The only artworks/works of art in evidence are some Greek vases and terracotta objects. – mplungjan Apr 24 '18 at 11:32
  • Singular "is" is fine, despite the number mismatch between the singular subject and the plural predicative. – BillJ Apr 24 '18 at 11:57
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    'The only artwork is evidenced by some Greek vases and terracotta objects.' – Nigel J Apr 24 '18 at 12:51

The verb should agree with the number and person of the subject, not of the object. In the sentence in question,the subject The artwork is uncountable ( singular). So, the verb should agree with it, that is is.

As a collective noun artwork means:

the pieces of art, such as drawings and photographs, that are used in books, newspapers, and magazines:

All the artwork in the book has been done by the author.

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