An expression of an amount, including fractions, measurements, percent-
and time periods, can be singular or plural depending on its use.
Two-sixths equals one-third. (Two sixths is considered a single unit.)
Sixteen hours is a very long time to wait. (Sixteen hours is a unit of
time, one block of time according to the sentence.)
Five dollars were left on the table. (These are five separate dollars; use the
plural verb, were.)
Two-thirds of the drummers are practicing. (Drummers is plural; use the
plural verb, are.)
A verb that precedes the sentence’s subject agrees with the subject in number.
In the following sentences, the verb is in italics, and the subject is underlined.
Here is a fortune cookie for you. (singular subject and verb)
There are seven board games over there. (plural subject and verb)
The title of a book, city, country, film, magazine, organization, painting,
sculpture, or song that is plural still takes a singular verb.
(The italicized subjects and the underlined verbs below are singular.)
Des Moines is Iowa’s capital city.
The Rolling Stones was my uncle’s favorite rock group.
When a relative pronoun, such as that, which, or who, starts an adjective
clause, the clause’s verb agrees in number with the noun or pronoun to
which the relative pronoun refers.
The woman who is directing the chorus is Ms. Linden. (Who refers to
the singular noun, woman.)
The ladies who are singing together are Kate and Moe. (Who takes a
plural verb, are, because it refers back to ladies, a plural noun.)
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