1. Designs and artistic valour are something that run in his blood.

  2. Designs and artistic valour is something that **runs* in his blood.

Which sentence is correct?

  • I feel like both sentences sound weird. I'd get rid of the "something that" and say "Designs and artistic valour run in his blood". For information about singular vs. plural agreement with compound subjects containing and, see Singular or plural verb for compound subject? and the linked questions.
    – herisson
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 22:29
  • 1
    First off, why do you say "designs" rather than the uncountable "design"?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 22:35
  • is something / are things
    – Bread
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 11:07
  • "Designs and artistic valour are things that run in his blood."
    – Hellion
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


If you really want to hold on to "...something that..." then there can only be one subject in the sentence—not two. You could get around this by grouping design and artistic valor under a sort of umbrella subject, like this:

A penchant for design and artistic valor is something that runs...

  • 1
    I don't think the first sentence of this answer is correct. There is no requirement in English that a subject must have the same grammatical number as the predicative complement: consider the sentence "the feelings of sadness are something that we will move through"
    – herisson
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 23:12
  • I like the suggestion of adding a penchant for, but even that isn't optimal as the scope of a penchant for can be interpreted just design, as in 1: (a penchant for design) and (artistic valor) as opposed to 2: a penchant for (design and artistic valor). If fact, I'd say 1 is the more natural interpretation for various reasons. Thus, I'd just do away with something that or replace it with qualities that.
    – Zachary
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 23:17
  • @sumelic Although I understand that sentence, I don't like it. It sounds a bit "off". If I had to say "yes or no" to it, I would say "no." (Although I'm not certain.) I would rephrase it to something like we will move through these feelings of sadness to avoid the very issue involving something. Or, perhaps better, this feeling of sadness is something that we will move through. Commented May 22, 2018 at 0:17

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.