I am writing a paper on the topic of “dharma”. I have written:
“Within these two categories exists all forms and definitions of dharma.”
I am stumped! Is it supposed to be exist or exists, and why?
The complete subject of the sentence is “all forms and definitions of dharma.” The simple subject is “all.” The verb must agree with the simple subject “all.” All can be singular or plural, depending upon what it represents. In this case “all” represents “forms and definitions,” which is plural. The verb then is plural: exist.
Rearrange the sentence and it becomes clear.
All forms and definitions of dharma exist within these two categories.