I have had this rather mind-boggling question: Do the following sentences require a singular or plural verb?

  1. The blue and the red dice are/is rolled on the floor.
  2. Geraldine's and Gerald's car are bought from California.
  3. The personality of the business and the owner are/is separate.

Semantically, the ideas the sentences are describing indicate plurality: (1) There are two di rolled onto the floor-one is red and the other is blue; (2) Geraldine has a car, and so does Gerald; (3) in Accounting, the personality of the business is different from that of the owner.

  • If you have and, you need to use a plural verb (unless it's something like steak and potatoes, research and development, wear and tear, flotsam and jetsam where we consider it as only one thing). – Peter Shor Jan 15 at 2:42
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    If you say there are two dice, "the blue and the red", they are rolled on the floor. If you said that one die was colored blue and red (the blue and red die), that die is rolled. If you think you have set up the sentence in a way that leaves confusion ... redo it. – Yosef Baskin Jan 15 at 3:13
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    To answer the question in the title, yes, of course. Number agreement is probably the next chunk of morphology to leave; it's already dropped out of most dialects, and it's usually avoided by contraction in speech. – John Lawler Jan 15 at 4:36
  • It is completely usual to use "dice" as a plural form. (It's also common to use it as a singular form, but that usage is taken from the original plural form: the original singular form "die" is also still used.) – herisson Jan 15 at 6:37
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    2. Geraldine’s and Gerald’s cars are brought... 3. Personalities are – Jim Jan 16 at 23:46

1-The word "dice" is plural. The singular is "die."

2-The subject of the sentence is "car," so the verb would be singular.

3-Since you are saying the business and owner have separate personalities, you would start the sentence with the plural noun. And you might consider whether "distinct" would be preferred to "separate."

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