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  1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Grammar Subject-Verb Agreement

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, May 3, 2014.

    My choices are in bold font below.

    Is it:

    1. One and one equal/equals two.
    (Compound subject = plural verb?)

    2. One and one is/are two.
    (Compound subject = plural verb?)

    3. Two times two is/are four.

    4. Two times two equal/equals four.

    One times one equal/equals one.

    "One times one is one" is obviously correct, yes or no?

    Thank you.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    1. One and one equal/equals two.
    (Compound subject = plural verb?)​

    One and one are plural, so equal is correct.

    2. One and one is/are two.
    (Compound subject = plural verb?)​

    Same thing, 'and' makes it plural.

    3. Two times two is/are four.​

    "times" does not make the subject plural, 'is', is correct.

    4. Two times two equal/equals four.
    But here you contradict your pervious sentence. If it is 'is' in 3, it is 'equals', singular in 4, just as it is 'equals' and 'is' below.

    One times one equal/equals one.​

    "One times one is one" is obviously correct, yes or no?​

    Not sure why you deviated in #4.

    Now if you said one plus one equals two, instead on one and one, it would be singular.


    To figure it out, put 'and' in a different sentence. She and he are, not she and he is.
     
  3. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you, GingerCoffee.

    Have a nice weekend.

    :)
     
  4. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    "Zero and one are one" sounds weird, no?
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I tend to think of "one and one" or "two and two" as a single unit (i.e., "the sum of one and one..."). So "one and one is two" sounds better to me. This would then agree with the multiplication case. If you ask me, either should be acceptable because I can see the logic behind both ways.

    What's weird is that "one and one is two" has more hits on Google than "one and one are two," but it's the opposite for "two and two is four."
     
  6. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you, thirdwind.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It sounds a lot weirder if you were to say, "zero and one is one". It doesn't matter what the units are, what matters is the conjunction, 'and'.

    Zero and one are one.
    Zero plus one is one.

    Try some substitute words and you'll see.

    Zero and zero are zero.
    Ten plus ten is twenty.

    Who cares how many Google hits there are?
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "the sum of one and one..." is a different animal. The sum is... one and one are...

    If you use "or" the verb is singular. If you use "and" the verb is plural.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    @dillseed ! How come I just KNEW—before I even checked—that this thread was started by you? :)

    Where ARE you getting this stuff from? Tricky. Well done.

    I quit. Qwit ...kooit ...kee-wit...o_O
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I've given this more thought. I believe the problem is language we are used to vs proper grammar.

    One and one is two sounds OK to the ear because it is so commonly used. And replaces 'plus' and while it's commonly used, I'm not sure it is correct to replace plus with and. Perhaps it has been done so much it has become proper from common usage.

    Substituting other words one gets a different result.

    Apples and oranges are fruits. Apples plus oranges are better for you than either alone.
    Zero and zero is zero. Two zeros and five zeros is zero.

    I give up. o_O
     
  12. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    1. One and one equals two.

    2. One and one is two.

    3. Two times two is four.

    4. Two times two equals four.

    One times one equals one.

    One times one is one.

    I think 'one plus one are two' or 'two plus two are four' is preferred if I'm describing people that will be coming to a party of some such, so I'm counting 'heads' when I plan food and drink etc. So when it refers to living things (people, animals etc). But if I'm talking straight algebra, I think 'is' is preferred, as per above.
     
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  13. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My teacher brain agrees with this, but I'm not a native speaker and I've long since accepted the fact that English is un-freaking-predictable.
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @KaTrian : Over the years I noticed that many native English speakers are making grammar mistakes and spelling errors. In fact, a well-educated, fluent foreigner is likely to have a better vocabulary and more correct grammar then a lot of native speakers. Not all, obviously, but some. Which is strange because most native speakers don't know much about the English grammar at all, even if they did Latin in school, so I thought they were speaking 'by ear'. But then, in a lot of communities, certain grammatical mistakes are common in speech so, that could be a part of it..
     
  15. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @jazzabel I think it's quite common for native speakers of any language to speak their first language "wrong." Some languages have drastically different written and spoken varieties, which make it difficult for learners to decipher what exactly is the correct way to say things. That can be pretty frustrating too ("The song says 'Johnny be good', so why can't I write 'he be good?") :D
     
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  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    1. One and one equal/equals two.
    (Compound subject = plural verb?)

    2. One and one is/are two.
    (Compound subject = plural verb?)

    3. Two times two is/are four.

    4. Two times two equal/equals four.

    One times one equal/equals one.

    "One times one is one" is obviously correct, yes or no?



    I'm late to the game, but just in case...

    What's creating the difference between these choices is the presence or absence of the verb. In the initial two, you have a compound subject joined by the conjunction and. In all the rest you have a transitive verb that is splitting the first number from the second number. The second number is thus modified by the verb and cannot be counted as part of the subject.
     
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  17. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Wow! Thanks, everyone, for your help. You all are truly awesome.

    Thanks again, and have a nice weekend. :)
     

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