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I recently attended a grammar class, where the trainer explained:

A singular noun and a singular noun take a plural verb.

However, I feel it should have been

A singular noun and a singular noun takes a plural verb.

because the two singular nouns together take the verb, and they cannot be considered two different elements. Is my understanding correct?

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I don't think your intuition is correct in this case. As you yourself said, " the two singular nouns together take the verb". Note that you used the plural verb "take" in this context. "A singular noun and a singular noun" refers to two nouns, and even if they are considered to form a single unit, it's still a grammatically plural construction. Plural agreement is definitely possible, as is typically the case for "compound subjects" consisting of two singular noun phrases joined by "and". (I don't know whether I would say that the use of a plural verb is mandatory in this sentence—your suggestion of "A singular noun and a singular noun takes a plural verb" doesn't sound terribly bad to me—but plural agreement is definitely not prohibited in this context).

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This is a kind of meta question.

You could say:

✔ The construction of a singular noun and a singular noun takes a plural verb.

(Which proves its point, since the subject of that sentence is a singular noun.)

Your first sentence itself contains two singular nouns and needs to take a plural verb.


Of the two literal sentences you've provided, only the first is grammatical:

✔ A singular noun and a singular noun take a plural verb.
✘ A singular noun and a singular noun takes a plural verb.


Since you've quoted the two sentences, I am interpreting them literally.

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