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I was writing an essay when I became confused.

My question is which sentence is the right one?

There seem to be two main causes of long-distance relationships.

or

There seems to be two main causes of long-distance relations.

Which one is correct?

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    How many things be there? – Hot Licks Apr 6 '19 at 2:18
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This is a subject-verb agreement issue: Because this is an inverted sentence, with the subject coming after the verb, we can become confused. Rephrased in its natural order, it reads, "Two main causes of long-distance relationships seem to be the following (there)." We can now more easily see that the subject is "causes" (plural) requiring the plural form of the verb "seem" (without an "s"). So the answer is "There seem to be two main causes..."

  • There always seems to be a discord between the plurality of the subject and the plurality of the verb. Oh, well, such is English. – Hot Licks Dec 1 '19 at 23:02
  • If you mean by "discord'' that we often add an "s" to our nouns to make them plural (boy/boys) but drop the "s" to make present tense verbs plural (runs/run), then perhaps it might be helpful to think of the "s" on a present tense verb as standing for "singular." For example, "The boy runs." When his friend joins him, we have "Two boys run." Hope that helps! – Cate T. Dec 1 '19 at 23:15
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    Actually, it's a law of physics -- conservation of the letter S. – Hot Licks Dec 2 '19 at 0:16
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Depending on noun here the correct option is

There seem to be two main causes of long-distance relationships.

If the sentence had singular noun, "seem" would be used.

There seems to be one cause of long-distance relationships.

  • So you mean if the sentence was "There seems to be two main causes of long-distance relationship." This would be the right option, right? – Hasan Petek Mar 6 '19 at 18:50
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    No, if the sentence is "There seems to be two main causes of long-distance relationship." then it is incorrect, it should be "There seem to be two main causes of long-distance relationship." – eefar Mar 6 '19 at 18:57
  • (Correct answer, but not expressed very well in my opinion...) – Richard Z Apr 5 '19 at 19:04
  • @Richard I'd say 'seems' in both examples. Could you clarify? – marcellothearcane Aug 3 '19 at 19:06
  • “There seems to be one child in the garden” - singular, seems. “There seem to be two children in the garden” - plural, seem. – Richard Z Aug 4 '19 at 21:48

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