Can you put the article ‘a’ after the verb ‘are’?

So, I just read an article, and was confused by the sentence:

In the study we just described, we found evidence that people’s self-discerning reflections — musings on whether parts of their identity truly define who they are or merely reflect their cultural upbringing — are a critical ingredient in the relationship between living abroad and self-concept clarity.”

Source: From How Living Abroad Helps You Develop a Clearer Sense of Self

I always thought that plural verb can’t come with the articles ‘a’ and ‘an’, as they are incompatible (plural and singular). Well, there are some exceptions like, ‘They are a bunch of students’. However, the ‘a’ in this case is describing one group; it’s not a problem.

The quoted sentence is a grammatically correct sentence too, as I’ve checked on Grammarly. So, can anyone explain to me why is it correct?


A/an is indeed a singular article, and cannot precede a plural noun.

However, sometimes is connects a singular and a plural noun, in which case it agrees with the subject and not the complement.

The thing that I like is all the different influences that come together (singular subject, plural complement).

All the different influences that come together are what I like (plural subject, singular complement).

So the example you give is fine. Plural subject, singular complement, which therefore can take a.

Source : Link , Question Author : ALangLearner , Answer Author : Colin Fine

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