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I just heard someone say "The noisiest thing outside is the birds". I understand the use of "is" being preceded by the singular "thing". But, the plural "birds" followed by "is", why is this correct? What is generally the rule here?

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    Not that the spoken has the strictness of the written word, but you could have the thing is or the thing are. I'd go with is. Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 3:54
  • @Yosef: the thing are is ungrammatical. Did you mean the things are? Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 11:29
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    Does this answer your question? Agreement in "[Singular Noun] Is/Are [Plural Noun]"? // In [NP₁] is/are [NP₂], the choice of verb form is always governed by NP₁ (the first noun phrase), whether it is considered the subject or the complement in a case of copular inversion. Easy so far. But NP₁ may look plural but be notionally singular ('Bacon and eggs is my favourite meal.') Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 11:52
  • @PeterShor "I'd go with is" is my way of saying there's no choice to make. Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 13:31
  • Then I'll post a comment: the only grammatical choices are the noisiest thing is or the noisiest things are. Since there's more than one thing, things is a little bit better. Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 13:32

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