I have a sentence following the template above, and I am not sure what is the right verbal form to follow. A specific example could be:

Academia, and in particular professors, [is/are] more concerned with [sth] than [sth].

I am using the verb to be in the example but it applies to any other verb (in my actual text it is a present perfect, so the question would be whether to use "have" or "has").

My impression is that, in the example above, "academia" is still the subject and "and in particular professors" just works as a complement for it, so it should be "is", but it sounds strange to follow "professors" with "is".


I am thinking that, in the example I used, maybe some could argue that "academia" might work as a plural term because it refers to a community of people (does not sound right to me but just in case), so I will add a less ambiguous example (more similar to my text) where the first noun cannot possibly be interpreted as plural:

Psychology, and in particular research studies, [is/are] more concerned with [sth] than [sth].

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    I would suggest that you simplify or avoid the problem by substituting "the professoriate" or "the faculty" for "[the] professors," so as to match "Academia" with another non-count abstract noun. Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 12:20
  • @BrianDonovan Yes, rephrasing would probably be the best option, but I wanted to confirm whether "is" would be the grammatically correct word here.
    – javidcf
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 14:01
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    If you insist on avoiding sensible rephrasing, << Academia (and in particular professors) is more concerned with ... >> plays the 'ignore material in brackets' card; otherwise << Academia is, and in particular professors are, more concerned with ... >> is unarguably grammatical. 'Academia' seems a rare 'group-noun' that strongly resists notional agreement. But Orwell said that there can be even more serious faults than grammatical errors! Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


Both Academia and professors are plural. Which is why they "Academia, and in particular professors", ARE more concerned with [sth] than [sth].

EDIT: Just saw your edit. The second example would indeed be using "is". Psychology is not plural and can not be plural. Therefore, Psychology is the main Person.

"Psychology, and in particular ITS research studies, is more concerned with [sth] than [sth]. ITS referring to Psychology, which is singular.

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    My understanding is that "academia" is uncountable, so it would still get "is". But I get that sometimes collective nouns are used either as singular or plural, like with "population" or "group".
    – javidcf
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 11:24
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    jdehesa I think 'academia' is a peculiar one that even among die-hard synesisists (?) strongly informs the use of singular agreement. Googling << "academia are" -"of academia" -"in academia" -"and academia" -"to academia" -hero >> gives results that are all false positives as far as I've bothered to check the early ones. Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 16:40
  • This may be a UK/US divide. "Academia" is a thing consisting of individuals, like "public." In the US, we say "The public is..." and in the UK they say "The public are..."
    – Maverick
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 14:32
  • @Maverick But most Americans would use 'police are looking for ...' rather than 'police is looking for'. These things are unpredictable. And even with people in the UK often preferring notional agreement far more than people in the US, as I said, 'academia' is rarely used with a plural verb form even among confirmed synesisists. It's not a US/UK divide. Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 14:56

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