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Microsoft word says that "are" should be replaced with "is", but to me, it doesn't read well.

In Battle Royale, a group of high school students are forced to choose a weapon before being sent to battle each other to the death.

marked as duplicate by GEdgar, Edwin Ashworth, Community Jun 3 '18 at 0:17

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I think in this case, Word has successfully identified the subject and its units.

"In Battle Royale, a group of high school students are forced to choose a weapon before being sent to battle each other to the death."

In this sentence the is/are is in reference to a "Group" of students. In this case the use of "group" denotes a party of more than one however when referencing the "group" one would treat the word as a singular unit (afterall, there really is only one group).

Consider the sentence: "That group is big." vs "That group are big." -> To me, the use of "are" here seems awkward because the word "group" is treated as singular rather than plural. -to use "are" in this case one would have to reformat the sentence as such: "those groups are big."

  • Although "group" is a singular noun, a "group of students" implies a number of students, i.e., the meaning is plural. I would recommend "A group of high school students are forced to choose weapons before ....", but replacing the "are" with "is" would be OK, I think. It might also be better to simply replace "A group of" with "Some" or "Several". – tautophile Jun 2 '18 at 22:30
  • See the (possible) duplicate to find it argued that this is a difference between UK and US. So when Evan makes his assertion, he should say which his answer applies to. So should tautophile. – GEdgar Jun 2 '18 at 23:52
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The sentence is better as written. “Is forced to ... before being sent to battle each other” would be inconsistent, because “each other” implies a plural subject.

That said, the grammatical number of “a weapon” is inconsistent with “are”, so it would be better to write something like “forced to choose weapons” or “forced to choose their weapons”.

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