Why does “there’s” work as a contraction for plural items?

While writing recently, I came across a situation where a character said: There’s a lot of chandeliers in here. When editing, I realized that I wanted to have the sentence sound more formal, and chose to remove the contraction to do so, which is when I realized that it would become: There are a lot … Read more

“Memoirs” in book title – singular or plural verb?

I’m editing an article about the Battle of Agincourt. The author quotes his source as follows: The Memoires de Pierre de Fenin place the battle “between Maisoncelles and Agincourt”. “Memoires” [memoirs] is obviously plural, but the title refers to a single book. So I’m a little confused over the verb agreement. Pierre de Fenin’s memoirs … Read more

Is “any of them” used with a singular or plural verb?

I’m posting this question to settle a debate. Is the sentence, “If there are three of an unparalleled thing, is any of them truly unparalleled?” correct? The sentence throws me off because the first clause has a plural subject, but the second clause has a singular subject. My personal preference would be to make the … Read more

Verb agreement with a phrase set off by “but”

A coworker is writing a sentence like Sally, but especially Joe, enjoys questions about grammar and usage. He thinks it should be Sally, but especially Joe, enjoy questions about grammar and usage. Leaving aside the possibility of rewriting the sentence, I want to understand which part of the subject controls the verb’s number. Consider the … Read more

Is “what has been discussed are…” a grammatically correct sentence?

When concluding an essay, I wrote “what has been discussed are three major advantages of xxx”. But I doubt if “what has been discussed is three major advantages of xxx” is more correct? Answer The following “Grammarphobia” blog post provides a summary of what some resources say about how to inflect verbs for grammatical number … Read more

“Neither of us are” -vs- “Neither one of us is”

This cartoon was recently posted on Facebook. My sister (who is a retired HS English teacher) says the grammar is wrong and that the correct wording should be: “Neither one of us is.” but I disagree. I am not an English teacher but I believe that “US” relates to “WE” and the correct wording for … Read more

Singular entity, plural name/nickname — verb form?

In writing about the National Archives, I got to wondering about subject-verb agreement. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA, often called simply The National Archives) is one entity, but when using the nickname, it would appear at first glance to be plural. So, even though Archives is plural, because it is a single entity, … Read more