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I have the following sentence: "Burning fossil fuels like oil and gas is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities"

My question is whether I should use singular or plural ragarding the source? So an alternative would be: "Burning fossil fuels like oil and gas are the main source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities"

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    The correct option is "is". "Burning fossil fuels like oil and gas is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities" . 'Is' refers to 'the process of burning of fossil fuels', which is singular so you should use 'is'. Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 10:57
  • Cool, thanks Decapitated Soul for your answer
    – PeterBe
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 11:02
  • @DecapitatedSoul Please write an answer. I haven't found another question which would provide a duplicate target for this one. The title here probably needs improvement to help searchability though.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 11:11
  • Burning — a gerund — functions as a noun and is the simple subject of your sentence. You can take out everything following it, up to the verb, to better see the agreement: Burning is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 16:54

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The correct option in this sentence is "is".

"Burning fossil fuels like [oil and gas] is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities". 'Is' refers to 'the process of burning of fossil fuels', which is singular.

If the sentence were "burning and [another process] of fossil fuels like [oil and gas] are the main sources of greenhouse gas emission from human activities", you would use are because 'burning and [another process]' is plural.

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