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Should the verb be singular, "inspire," or plural, "inspires." I am having trouble determining if the subject is "His," singular, or "Devotion, passion, and commitment," plural. Here is the following example:

Is it:

His devotion, passion, and commitment to the work he provides inspires advancement within his company and to those working in the forensic field.

OR

His devotion, passion, and commitment to the work he provides inspire advancement within his company and to those working in the forensic field.

Thus, it is either "He inspires...." or "All of his attributes inspire"

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  • It is the second, since the subject is not "he" but "his devotion, passion etc". "His" is a possessive pronoun and hence treated as an adjective, not as a noun.
    – WS2
    Nov 21, 2019 at 17:46
  • In reviewing the sentence more closely and after thinking about it for a while, I believe it is "His Attributes [devion, passion and commitment provded] inspire.... not "His Attributes inspires" - Let me know if you agree?
    – Craig West
    Nov 21, 2019 at 17:48
  • @WS2, indeed. Actually, it's quite similar to this question. Nov 21, 2019 at 17:55
  • Probably, as expanded, a duplicate of agreement with compound subjects joined by 'and'. Either agreement is possible, so the question has no 'correct' single answer. Nov 21, 2019 at 17:58
  • [...] the work he does inspires advancement =**he does work that inspires advancement**. But: His devotion, passion, and commitment to his work *inspire advancement within his company* So, your original sentence was not great. He does work, he doesn't provide it.
    – Lambie
    Nov 21, 2019 at 22:56

1 Answer 1

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The sentence needs some wordsmithing:

His devotion, passion, and commitment to the work he provides inspires advancement within his company and to those working in the forensic field.

1) How can the work he provides inspire anything?

2) Surely, it must be: the work he does?

So that gives us:

  • His devotion, passion, and commitment to work inspire advancement within his company and to those working in the forensic field. Keep reading.

You could say: his work, but that's understood. There are three subjects, therefore the verb is in the plural.

People are inspired by others' devotion, passion and commitment to their work. Not to the work they provide.

Furthermore, I would not use advancement here. And I would give the sentence a single direct object and two adverbial phrases:

His devotion, passion, and commitment to work inspire others in the field of forensics, both in the company and outside it, to develop further their own knowledge.

inspire advancement within his company is not great.

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  • Beware of uninformed downvoters.
    – Lambie
    Nov 22, 2019 at 16:05

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