I believe that up-to-date knowledge and experience, coupled with the motivation of young people, are two assets that make their advice more pivotal.

In this question I want to say "up-to-date knowledge and experience" and "motivation of young people" are two assets. However, if I use "coupled with" I have to use singular verb is. How can I solve that?

Also, is comma ", coupled with the motivation of young people," necessary in the sentence, or I can remove that?

  • 1
    Aren't knowledge and experience already plural, so problem solved? Yes, commas are expected. Apr 12, 2020 at 3:52
  • Yes, knowledge and experience are plural. But, two assets are not knowledge and experience. They are "up-to-date knowledge and experience" and "motivation of young people".
    – Arash
    Apr 12, 2020 at 4:04
  • 2
    "How can I solve that?" Don't use the phrase coupled with. Apr 12, 2020 at 12:44
  • Your sentence would work fine as is if you replace coupled with together. You might also consider using the before two assets, depending on exactly what you wish to express. May 12, 2020 at 14:09
  • First, English grammar provides no simple way of making sure that "knowledge and experience" is understood as one singular thing rather than two: some may but others may not. You have made every reasonable effort to express what you mean, and I personally had no problem with it. But I could have thought you meant that knowledge and experience are two assets, provided that they are coupled with the motivation of young people. But I miss a context. Whose knowledge and experience? Surely not the young people, who are unlikely to have experience yet.
    – Tuffy
    Jun 11, 2020 at 16:47

2 Answers 2


"Coupled with" does not necessarily have to use "Is". See below

The water strider's hydrophobic legs and undersides, coupled with its small size, are what keep it from drowning

This is a perfectly fine sentence. If you use "coupled with", you use is/are depending on whether what precedes "Coupled with" is singular or plural.

  • @ArunkgpThanks, but lets say I change the phrase to this one: "I believe that up-to-date knowledge, coupled with the motivation of young people, is an asset that makes their advice more pivotal. However, I want to say that these are two assets: 1- up-to-date knowledge 2- motivation of young people. How can I say that using coupled with?
    – Arash
    Apr 12, 2020 at 15:08
  • I'll have to agree with Peter. "Coupled with" subordinates the second element to the first, so grammatically you still have only the singular. Refrain from using the phrase if you have two separable elements and want to present them as such.
    – Arunkgp
    Apr 12, 2020 at 15:19
  • Can I say "I believe that up-to-date knowledge, coupled with the motivation of young people, is two assets?
    – Arash
    Apr 12, 2020 at 15:39
  • Semantically that is only one asset if you use "coupled with"
    – Arunkgp
    Apr 12, 2020 at 15:44
  • Giving another contrived example of the same form does not constitute proof. Please give supporting references, linked and attributed, to at least partly justify 'Coupled with' does not necessarily have to use 'is.' May 12, 2020 at 11:17

I would avoid 'coupled with' completely here.

  • '[A and B], coupled with [C], are two ...' is notionally infelicitous.

Assuming notional agreement (trying to use broad-brush rules is, I consider, inadequate here) either [up-to-date knowledge and experience] (a) is seen as sufficiently unary to be treated as such (ie given singular agreement) or (b) we need to use a non-subsetted list 'A, plus B, plus C'. Thus

  • (a) Health and safety, coupled with economic growth, is our primary focus.

I've chosen a different example of the same structure because I can't bring myself to see 'up-to-date knowledge' and 'experience' as being sufficiently cohesive to warrant being treated as unary. Beans and luncheon meat, not bacon and eggs.

(There are, though, not a few examples on the internet which treat 'A coupled with B' as a compound subject; this is not the received viewpoint. The following from an [otherwise?] well-written article from ACS: Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering:

  • (anti-a) Efficient antibacterial activity coupled with the ability to visualize bacterial processes allow Au–Ag NPs to be a potential solution in medicine and biosensing.)

............... or

  • (b) Up-to-date knowledge, experience, and the motivation of young people, are assets that make their advice more pivotal.

You can show that the A and B are more cohesive than A and C, say, without being unary, by rephrasing

  • (b') Up-to-date knowledge and experience – when put together with the motivation of young people – are assets that make their advice more pivotal.

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