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Yesterday I went to a chocolate shop and they were in a sale. Here is the question: Two boxes--€13. Can I say: Two boxes together is 13 euro (to emphasize that these two are sold together)/ Two boxes are 13 euro.

Thanks in advance.

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I believe either usage is correct.

If you say "Two boxes together is 13 Euro", this implies "The (singular) set of 'two boxes together' is 13 Euro", which is correct.

If you say "Two boxes are 13 Euro", this implies "Two boxes are 13 Euro (when purchased) together", which I believe is also correct.

A curious alternative is "Two boxes cost 13 Euro". We use 'cost' for multiple items, not singular items. We don't say "One box cost". Rather, we say "One box costs". By adding the word "together" we would have "Two boxes together costs 13 Euro" - if we want to follow the usage of the word "cost" with a single item (that is the set of two boxes together). Yet "Two boxes together cost 13 Euro" still sounds correct.

I think because the subject of "cost" is implied fluidly (between the plural two boxes or the singular set of two boxes together), both usages are correct.

A simpler alternative: Two boxes for 13 Euro.

  • So when I refer the two boxes as a set, I could simply use the singular verb "is", is that correct? – Alex Sep 26 '18 at 6:58
  • I believe so. "A single set is..." makes sense. When the sentence is not explicitly noting a single set, the reader can make the assumption that it is implied. Of course, if the reader fails to make that assumption then they may read it as if you are saying "the plural boxes is..." and it will sound incorrect to them. – youcantryreachingme Sep 26 '18 at 7:01
  • As a footnote - we do say "one box cost" in the past tense. If I refer to my purchase, yesterday, of one box, I can say "one box cost me 13 Euro". In your question you are referring to a shop sale. You could say "one box will cost" - in the future. But in the present, "one box costs". (Just thought I would add that clarification to my comment that we don't say "One box cost" - I mean we don't say it in the present tense). – youcantryreachingme Sep 27 '18 at 0:25

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