“To Be” conjugation with Inversions?

Looking at the TV was/were John and Jane.

Should "to be" be conjugated in the singular or plural form? My first thought was that it should agree with Looking at the TV; after all it comes first in the sentence and it makes sense to think that it should be the subject. But then what about John and Jane? It seems like THEY should be the subject since they were the grammatical agent of the action?

Would someone please clear this up for me as to what is the subject and what is the predicate? Any and all help is appreciated!


That inversion is bit unusual to be honest. Looks like an example of anastrophe.

John and Jane are are still the subject (which is plural), and the "the TV" is still the object, and "were looking at" is still the verb. It’s only the word order that has been changed, i.e. from the usual "John and Jane were looking at the TV".

Source : Link , Question Author : lil’ barbussy , Answer Author : Billy Kerr

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