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Every year some 13 million hectares of rain forest, an area about the size of England, disappears.

In this context, should I use disappear or disappears?

But I might see some sentences which considered hectares as plural.

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  • 1
    '13 million hectares is a lot of rain forest.' Units almost always take singular (here notional) agreement. '$10 is not a lot to pay for a book nowadays.' But the use of 'some' is a complicating factor here. But then again, notice the singular-form appositive, which corresponds to 'which is an area ...'. I'd rephrase. Jun 8, 2018 at 15:13
  • On the other hand, it's rain forest (singular)--about 13 million hectares of it--that disappears.
    – tautophile
    Jun 8, 2018 at 15:44
  • Thanks ! Your explanation is the most appropriate, i think.
    – L.Day
    Jun 14, 2018 at 15:19

5 Answers 5

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Hectare is an ordinary count noun. So you make it plural by adding s. Same as acre. He has a one acre lot. Or, his place is big, five acres.

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In that particular sentence disappear loses the's'.

Contracting the sentence is useful in understanding the relationship.

Every year 13 million hectares disappear.

or

Every year some 13 million hectares of rain forest, an area about the size of England, disappear.

If the sentence were to have 'an area the size of England' as the singular subject then 'disappears' would apply.

Every year an area about the size of England, some 13 million hectares of rain forest, disappears.

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On Notional Agreement: the Majority Speak merriam-webster When plural verbs meet singular nouns (and vice versa)

Thus:

Every year approximately 13 million hectares of rain forest disappear.

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I would say it is plural for the following reason:

Google's definition: "a metric unit of square measure, equal to 100 ares (2.471 acres or 10,000 square meters)."

so its the same as saying 13 million square acres/meters, where acres/meters are plural words, not singular.

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  • Since a hectare = 2.5 acres, approximately, I suppose Winnie-the-Pooh's "Hundred Aker [sic] Wood" in Ashdown Forest would become the "Forty Hektare [sic] Wood" when translated into metric.
    – tautophile
    Jun 8, 2018 at 22:49
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The question asked does not turn on hectare, but results from two apparent subjects in the sentence,is the subject 13 million hectares, or is it an area? One is plural the other singular.

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