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Is it “5-6 weeks are a lot of time” or “5-6 weeks is a lot of time”?

I am writing about a baseball player who has 33 at-bats in his career.

Which is correct:

Yes, 33 career at-bats qualifies/qualify as a small sample size.

My guess is that it should be qualify because at-bats is the subject, but it sounds odd.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, JeffSahol, simchona, kiamlaluno, Daniel Jun 27 '12 at 23:02

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  • 5
    The subject is 33 career at-bats - which is plural, so qualify is the correct verb form. But people will often use singular qualifies in a context like this, where that number of "at-bats" is alternatively described as (singular) "a small sample size". – FumbleFingers Jun 18 '12 at 17:20
  • 6
    A similar question: 5 weeks is vs 5 weeks are – J.R. Jun 18 '12 at 17:24

The argument could be made that there's an implicit 'having' in the sentence:

Yes, [having] 33 career at-bats qualifies as a small sample size.

If you buy this argument, then the implicit 'having' is the gerund subject, and the verb for this gerund subject should be in singular form.


qualifies. the noun is "33 career at-bats" which is singular.

If the subject were "33 at-bats in one's career," it would be "qualify"

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