Singing and dancing is fun!

Singing and dancing are fun!

Please tell me which expression is correct.

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, Mitch, jimm101, Jason Bassford, Mark Beadles Feb 22 at 16:50

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    It depends what is meant: singing and dancing at the same time or at least on the same occasion IS fun; but considered as separate activities (equivalent to “singing is fun and dancing is fun” THEY ARE both fun. – Tuffy Feb 20 at 12:44

Singing and dancing is fun!

Singing and dancing are fun!

Please tell me which expression is correct.

Ans: Technically, both are correct. It depends on where the emphasis is. Why?

Explanation: The rule with is vs. are: Use "are" with plural subjects, and "is" with a singular subject (Little, Brown Handbook, p. 867 11th. Ed. Pearson Education, Inc [2010])

In the two sentences provided, "singing and dancing" is the subject. One could easily argue both singing and dancing are separate verb actions, and therefore, plural; however:

Based on is vs are grammatical rules, "singing" is a simple verb; therefore, using "is" is appropriate. However, if two verbs are combined, both verbs become a compound verb, such as singing and dancing. Many, many compound verbs are also considered as a single action or event done simultaneously or singularly. Therefore, "is" is correct as well for a compound verb (www.grammarly.com) - the secret is, is where you want to put the emphasis.

"Singing and dancing is fun!" - A reader or listener might picture a young woman just coming back from being out on the dance floor. The whole time, she was singing and dancing to the music at the same time, and that certainly is fun! It's a singular event, with both things done singularly at the same time.

"Singing and dancing are fun!" - Same compound verb, but a reader or listener is going to place greater emphasis on the subject. That is, both verbs as separate actions. An example would be, if this same woman just walked off stage and said "singing and dancing are fun!" a listener would know this girl went to a concert where she sang, then later on in the performance, also danced. When she finished her performance, which was a singular event or concert, she did both things. To emphasize both, are is used.

The same applies to singular nouns (not covered in your question.)

Singular subjects require "is." Compound subjects require "are."

Example: Singular subject: John is a College student. Compound Subject: John and Larry are College students.

You have the same challenge, however, with compound subjects as you do with compound verbs using "is" and "are." Certain compound subjects are considered singular items. Example "peanut butter and jelly." Sample sentence: Peanut butter and jelly is great for lunch. Even though Peanut butter and jelly is a compound subject, it is considered a singular item, and "is" is appropriate. However, compound subjects come with the same use of "are" for emphasis. Sample sentence: "Peanut butter and jelly are the two ingredients in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich." Again, greater emphasis on each of the two subjects of the compound subject is made using are. (Ref: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/is-vs-are/)

Compound nouns: A compound noun contains two or more words that join together to make a single noun. Examples: dustpan, apple pie, toothbrush, etc. Even though they are a compound noun, they form a singular noun, or simple subject, and "is" is appropriate.

  • A compound noun is something like “orange juice”, a noun composed of multiple roots. I think you mean coordinated or conjoined, not compound. – Richard Z Feb 20 at 13:23
  • Tks for the catch. I meant "compound subject" not noun. The original post has been edited/updated. Thank you! – Steve B053 Feb 20 at 14:02

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