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I'm editing an article about the Battle of Agincourt. The author quotes his source as follows:

The Memoires de Pierre de Fenin place the battle "between Maisoncelles and Agincourt".

"Memoires" [memoirs] is obviously plural, but the title refers to a single book. So I'm a little confused over the verb agreement.

  • Pierre de Fenin's memoirs place...
  • The book/source/author places...
  • The Memoires de Pierre de Fenin place/places...???

Any input appreciated!

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It's a book title, referring to a single book. The content of the title is irrelevant to the grammar of the sentence. When constructing the sentence, think of the title as simply Title:

Title places the battle "between Maisoncelles and Agincourt".

Or:

Memoires de Pierre de Fenin places the battle "between Maisoncelles and Agincourt".


Note that it's wrong to start your sentence with only the definite article.

You would not say:

The Moby Dick is a tale about a fisherman and a whale.

But you can start the sentence with the book:

The book Moby Dick is a tale about a fisherman and a whale.

So, if you want to use the book in your sentence:

The book Memoires de Pierre de Fenin places the battle "between Maisoncelles and Agincourt".


Of course, if the subject of the sentence weren't the book itself, then the verb could be plural:

The memories recounted in Memoires de Pierre de Fenin place the battle "between Maisoncelles and Agincourt".

  • A good answer indeed. – A Lambent Eye Dec 15 '18 at 23:44
  • Thank you. This confirms what I'd thought, but I hadn't even thought about the use of the definite article being incorrect, too! Many thanks for the detailed response. – Nams Dec 15 '18 at 23:51
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I would personally choose the second suggestion, since the first adjusts the title, which I would view as bad practice.

You could also write

The book "Memoires de Pierre de Fenin" places [...]

to be absolutely sure you're right.

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