March 16, 2020
The Couple Is or the Couple Are?TOPICS: COLLECTIVE NOUNS, COPY EDITING, COUPLE IS OR COUPLE ARE, GRAMMAR
Sometimes it's not clear whether collective nouns like "couple" take a singular or plural verb. In most cases, your ear is your best guide.
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'Are' vs. 'is' writ largePosted by June on March 16, 2020
LABELS: COPY EDITING, GRAMMAR, SUBJECT VERB AGREEMENT
“There are a variety of Medicare supplement plans on the market.”
的可以的提棋牌For an editor, this is not a difficult sentence. We see stuff like this all the time and don’t blink an eye. But sometimes things that shouldn’t trip me up trip me up. Things I’ve known for years — things I’ve researched and confirmed and committed to memory — seem to fall right out of my brain.
的可以的提棋牌And so it was when I found myself staring at that sentence, which appeared in an article I was editing recently, and stopped dead in my tracks. “There are a variety”? “There is a variety”? For some reason, I couldn’t remember despite having researched the matter multiple times in the past.
的可以的提棋牌To get to the answer, there are a couple of issues to consider. One is whether “variety” is singular, which would require the singular verb “is,” or whether it’s plural, requiring the verb “are.”
The second issue is whether “variety” governs the verb at all. Could “plans” be the subject of the verb? If so, there’s no question the verb should be “are,” as in “There are plans on the market.”
Finally, there’s a question of whether “existential there” changes the equation. In , I start with that one.
June Casagrande is a writer and journalist whose weekly grammar/humor column, “A Word, Please,” appears in community newspapers in California, Florida, and Texas. more
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