I was hoping someone could break down the following sentence that I have written into its subject, verb, and predicate parts:

This is why supporting demand-side policies is a less-risky proposition.

I quickly jotted this note down in a text book and, upon reading it back to myself, it felt quite awkward. From my vantage, the intent was to convey supporting demand-side policies as a singular idea or concept, with that intention then more or less affirmed in (what I'm assuming is) my predicate; this consisting of a less-risky proposition, which denotes a singular idea.

Should I have instead used the verb are to link the subject and predicate? If so, is it because, simply, the subject cannot be construed as anything other than compound in nature?

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    Nothing tricky here at all. Up to the last paragraph, your analysis is correct. Why cloud it with doubt about whether you "should have used" the plural? The subject is a gerund clause, which is automatically singular, and there is no plural morpheme in the sentence beside the one in policies, which is the direct object of supporting, and which is not the subject of is a less-risky proposition. Whence comes this doubt? Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 19:21
  • I have yet to grasp the full complement of those exacting grammatical rules which would allow for an easy analysis (and why I'm here); however, I surmise it was "policies," which I felt may have necessitated a plural interpretation of the subject. I just did not know that gerund clauses, as a rule, were to be observed as "automatically singular." Thank you for relaying that.
    – taydugz
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 19:53
  • Any clause or phrase that is used as the subject of a clause is automatically singular. If they're not subjects the question doesn't arise. Like I said, number agreement conveys no information and is ignored by everyone except English teachers. And there is a rule for it, but to use it you have to learn to identify the subject, and not just look for a plural noun on the horizon. Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 22:32
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    Related and possible duplicates: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and plenty more besides.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 1:03

1 Answer 1


May I suggest you try and make up some sentences using gerund clauses as subjects?

Here is an example: Explaining things repeatedly is frustrating. For example.

Now: Explaining things repeatedly and retaining one's composure are true people skills (which I do not always have.) :)

A gerund clause can function as a noun, ergo, as the subject of a sentence. two of them together will require "are" instead of "is".

Playing tennis is not fun for everybody.

  • @BenjaminHarman Yes, people argue that things like "running and jumping is fun" makes of running and jumping a unit. I do not ascribe to that theory. To each his own, right?
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 20:55
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    @BenjaminHarman I could not find this issue in those links. Maybe I read too fast. All I can say is that I am not referring to Green eggs and ham (a single dish) //[...]"what I'm doing is talking about doing them together as a singular activity". I guess you mean a single activity. I really did not get into single word uses of gerunds. So, for what I said, gerunds phrases like: playing tennis or riding horses) consisting of more than a single ing word, I'm not giving faulty advice.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 21:10
  • Running and kissing is fun. Running and kissing are fun. Running and jumping and kissing is fun. Running and jumping and kissing are fun.
    – Zan700
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 1:48
  • @Zan700 Running and blowing kisses, perhaps. Otherwise, I don't see how you can run and kiss as a single activity.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 14:37

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