For an epitaph, would you write:

Her joy and love of life continue to inspire us all


Her joy and love of life continues to inspire us all



The first example is correct.

Her joy and love of life continue to inspire us all.

In a case like this, many native speakers of English will tend to make the verb agree with the last word in the set, but this is incorrect.

  • "many native speakers of English" - not good enough. Know any rules? – Rusty Core Mar 1 '19 at 0:28
  • Rusty Core, you seem to have misunderstood my comment. In this case, "continue" is correct. Some native speakers, in cases like this (though not specifically this one), would make the verb agree with the word that precedes the verb, but this would be incorrect. If you would like a reference, see: owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/grammar/… One of the examples at this link is "The team captain, as well as his players, is anxious." Many native speakers would incorrectly say "are" here, especially when speaking. – hguler Mar 1 '19 at 1:07
  • Yes, I haven't read your answer completely. I apologize. – Rusty Core Mar 1 '19 at 4:56

Adam, my teachers here in America, taught us look to the phrasing itself. To my ear, ‘joy and love of life’ come as a piece, one is part and parcel of another. They are not separate experiences, thus they continue to inspire.

Following it with ‘us all’ is another matter. Strikes me as unnecessary, or perhaps, simply an placeholder for use in your example. All best, /amelie

  • 4
    This doesn’t really make sense. If you see them as one, not separate experiences, then it’s singular and it should be continues. If you use continue, it’s because you do see them as separate and not a single notion. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 28 '19 at 17:39

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