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I am working on my resume. I don’t know if I should use make instead of makes in this sentence.

I believe that my passion for teaching and my knowledge of the English language makes me an ideal candidate for a teaching position at your school

  • Often, with these kinds of things, both will work - and you are best guided by what sounds right to your ear. Personally, were it me, in this instance I would use "make". – WS2 May 19 '18 at 7:15
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I am fairly confident the sentence is incorrect as is. It should read:

"I believe that my passion for teaching and my knowledge of the English language make me an ideal candidate..."


I would argue this because it is your passion and your knowledge (i.e. 2 things) that together make you an ideal candidate.

Simplified, the sentence could read as "This and that make me an ideal candidate"

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This grammatical issue is called concord or agreement, specifically here the agreement of the subject and the verb. In other words, a singular subject requires a singular and a plural subject requires a plural verb form:

  • Harry is marrying Meghan.
  • Meghan and Harry are getting married.

This is known as formal agreement. But there is also notional agreement. This exists when a coordinated subject, that formally requires a plural verb, is conceived by the speaker as a single item:

  • Fish and chips is my favourite meal.
  • The hammer and sickle is a communist symbol that was adopted during the Russian Revolution. Source

Garner's Modern English Usage (p778), in the section on Subject-verb agreement has this advice on compound subjects joined conjunctively:

If two or more subjects joined by and are different and separable, they take a plural verb. ... But sometimes the two subjects joined by and express a single idea, and hence should take a singular verb.

It is clear to me that my passion for teaching and my knowledge of the English language are different and separable. Hence the verb should be in the plural form and the correct sentence reads:

I believe that my passion for teaching and my knowledge of the English language make me an ideal candidate for a teaching position at your school.

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