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Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects

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Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 24 Sep 2016, 10:05
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Hello Experts

There are some subjects that could be singular or plural and I am confused how to identify them.

Few examples:
Consider the below sentence

a) Repairing the foreclosed properties that are in bad condition are the latest initiative by the bank to stay competitive in the real estate market in which selling homes is not a easy task

In this q -: Repairing the foreclosed properties is a phrase and treated as the subject of this sentence. The verb of the above sentence is "ARE".
Since the subject is a phrase and phrases are singular, ccan we treat this as Singular thus making the verb "IS" ?

In the same sentence, selling homes is a phrase and the subject here.. so here it is singular although we are talking about selling MULTIPLE HOMES. How is the verb singular "IS" ?

b) Reading mystery books gives me thrill - Here - one is reading multiple mystery books - not just one.. So why is it SINGULAR gives ? Although give sounds awkward but by the subject refers to multiple books.

c) Rising commercial real estate rates, a gauge used to determine the strength of the market, are likely to deter people from buying homes - In this sentence, Rising commercial real estate rates is a phrase and thus should be Singular.. So the verb should be IS and not ARE? Although multiple rates are rising but isn't a phrase singular just like Reading mystery books is Singular?

This is confusing. Can someone please help explain how to identify singular or plural subjects especially when it comes to phrases.

Thanks v much!!

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Re: Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 24 Sep 2016, 10:46
cuhmoon wrote:
Hello Experts

There are some subjects that could be singular or plural and I am confused how to identify them.

Few examples:
Consider the below sentence

a) Repairing the foreclosed properties that are in bad condition are the latest initiative by the bank to stay competitive in the real estate market in which selling homes is not a easy task

In this q -: Repairing the foreclosed properties is a phrase and treated as the subject of this sentence. The verb of the above sentence is "ARE".
Since the subject is a phrase and phrases are singular, ccan we treat this as Singular thus making the verb "IS" ?

In the same sentence, selling homes is a phrase and the subject here.. so here it is singular although we are talking about selling MULTIPLE HOMES. How is the verb singular "IS" ?

b) Reading mystery books gives me thrill - Here - one is reading multiple mystery books - not just one.. So why is it SINGULAR gives ? Although give sounds awkward but by the subject refers to multiple books.

c) Rising commercial real estate rates, a gauge used to determine the strength of the market, are likely to deter people from buying homes - In this sentence, Rising commercial real estate rates is a phrase and thus should be Singular.. So the verb should be IS and not ARE? Although multiple rates are rising but isn't a phrase singular just like Reading mystery books is Singular?

This is confusing. Can someone please help explain how to identify singular or plural subjects especially when it comes to phrases.

Thanks v much!!


All the examples you have mentioned consists of a gerund subject phrase - subject phrases with gerunds are ALWAYS SINGULAR !

Repairing the foreclosed properties that are in bad condition are the latest initiative by the bank to stay competitive in the real estate market in which selling homes is not a easy task... WRONG. The verb should be "is".

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Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 24 Sep 2016, 10:53
VERB-ING functions:
1. Verb-ING word as a noun
2. Verb-ING word as an adjective
3.Verb-ING as a verb with the helping verb.

1. Verbing words funciton as nouns that denote an action.

EX: Growing plants IS my hobby.

Here growing is the verb-ing noun because the word acts as a noun and hence the subject of the clause, but it also denotes the action.

VERB-ING nouns is that they are always SINGULAR. Reading mystery books gives me thrill..

2.VERB-ING as an adjective.

Verb-ing words function as adjectives.here it provides extra information of a particular noun entity...When the verb-ing word acts as an adjective, it doesn't have bearing on the verb of the sentence.The verb must agree in number and makes sense with subject of the sentence.

ex: Growing plants in your backyard need more care..

Here growing is adjective that presents a characteristic of the plants...what kind of plants need more care ? The plants that are growing.

3.VERB-ing as a verb with a helping verb:
These verb-ing along with helping verbs function as verbs...

ex: I am growing banana plants in my farm...here growing is not able to tell the tense of the word but it is helping verb that tells the tense...

Hope it helps...

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Re: Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 24 Sep 2016, 13:33
msk0657 wrote:
VERB-ING functions:
1. Verb-ING word as a noun
2. Verb-ING word as an adjective
3.Verb-ING as a verb with the helping verb.

1. Verbing words funciton as nouns that denote an action.

EX: Growing plants IS my hobby.

Here growing is the verb-ing noun because the word acts as a noun and hence the subject of the clause, but it also denotes the action.

VERB-ING nouns is that they are always SINGULAR. Reading mystery books gives me thrill..

2.VERB-ING as an adjective.

Verb-ing words function as adjectives.here it provides extra information of a particular noun entity...When the verb-ing word acts as an adjective, it doesn't have bearing on the verb of the sentence.The verb must agree in number and makes sense with subject of the sentence.

ex: Growing plants in your backyard need more care..

Here growing is adjective that presents a characteristic of the plants...what kind of plants need more care ? The plants that are growing.

3.VERB-ing as a verb with a helping verb:
These verb-ing along with helping verbs function as verbs...

ex: I am growing banana plants in my farm...here growing is not able to tell the tense of the word but it is helping verb that tells the tense...

Hope it helps...

This explanation is amazing. Thanks for providing so much conceptual clarity.!!

So to summarize.. If the verbing word is performing the function of a noun, it is usually singular. When as an adjective it depends on the sentence..

Is my understanding correct?

How about this sentence.

Rising property rates is of concern to homeowners

Or

ARE of concern to homeowners?

(should be ARE?)

How about this one:

Rising of property rates IS of concern

Or

ARE of concern.

Since rising is the subject thus singular?

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Re: Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 24 Sep 2016, 19:08
msk0657 wrote:
VERB-ING functions:
1. Verb-ING word as a noun
2. Verb-ING word as an adjective
3.Verb-ING as a verb with the helping verb.

1. Verbing words funciton as nouns that denote an action.

EX: Growing plants IS my hobby.

Here growing is the verb-ing noun because the word acts as a noun and hence the subject of the clause, but it also denotes the action.

VERB-ING nouns is that they are always SINGULAR. Reading mystery books gives me thrill..

2.VERB-ING as an adjective.

Verb-ing words function as adjectives.here it provides extra information of a particular noun entity...When the verb-ing word acts as an adjective, it doesn't have bearing on the verb of the sentence.The verb must agree in number and makes sense with subject of the sentence.

ex: Growing plants in your backyard need more care..

Here growing is adjective that presents a characteristic of the plants...what kind of plants need more care ? The plants that are growing.

3.VERB-ing as a verb with a helping verb:
These verb-ing along with helping verbs function as verbs...

ex: I am growing banana plants in my farm...here growing is not able to tell the tense of the word but it is helping verb that tells the tense...

Hope it helps...


How about this sentence:

The french handed over the information to the Poles because they believed it to be of no value.

How is The French Plural here? Isn't it referring to a Single Entity "The French"... Please help explain

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Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 25 Sep 2016, 10:01
cuhmoon wrote:
msk0657 wrote:
VERB-ING functions:
1. Verb-ING word as a noun
2. Verb-ING word as an adjective
3.Verb-ING as a verb with the helping verb.

1. Verbing words funciton as nouns that denote an action.

EX: Growing plants IS my hobby.

Here growing is the verb-ing noun because the word acts as a noun and hence the subject of the clause, but it also denotes the action.

VERB-ING nouns is that they are always SINGULAR. Reading mystery books gives me thrill..

2.VERB-ING as an adjective.

Verb-ing words function as adjectives.here it provides extra information of a particular noun entity...When the verb-ing word acts as an adjective, it doesn't have bearing on the verb of the sentence.The verb must agree in number and makes sense with subject of the sentence.

ex: Growing plants in your backyard need more care..

Here growing is adjective that presents a characteristic of the plants...what kind of plants need more care ? The plants that are growing.

3.VERB-ing as a verb with a helping verb:
These verb-ing along with helping verbs function as verbs...

ex: I am growing banana plants in my farm...here growing is not able to tell the tense of the word but it is helping verb that tells the tense...

Hope it helps...

This explanation is amazing. Thanks for providing so much conceptual clarity.!!

So to summarize.. If the verbing word is performing the function of a noun, it is usually singular. When as an adjective it depends on the sentence..

Is my understanding correct?

How about this sentence.

Rising property rates is of concern to homeowners

Or

ARE of concern to homeowners?

(should be ARE?)

How about this one:

Rising of property rates IS of concern

Or

ARE of concern.

Since rising is the subject thus singular?


1. Rising property rates is of concern to homeowners.
"Rising" is NOT the subject - it is the adjective for the subject "property rates". Since "rates" is plural, the verb should also be plural. (An adjective cannot be singular or plural. ONLY a noun can be singular or plural).

2. Rising of property rates IS of concern.
Here "rising" is a gerund (noun) and as stated previously in my post, a gerund is always singular. (The sentence is wrong though - concrete noun rise is better than gerund rising.)


There is a fourth use of verb-ing - as a present participle.
The temperature rose drastically, increasing the sale of air-conditioners.

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Re: Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 25 Sep 2016, 10:02
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cuhmoon wrote:
msk0657 wrote:
VERB-ING functions:
1. Verb-ING word as a noun
2. Verb-ING word as an adjective
3.Verb-ING as a verb with the helping verb.

1. Verbing words funciton as nouns that denote an action.

EX: Growing plants IS my hobby.

Here growing is the verb-ing noun because the word acts as a noun and hence the subject of the clause, but it also denotes the action.

VERB-ING nouns is that they are always SINGULAR. Reading mystery books gives me thrill..

2.VERB-ING as an adjective.

Verb-ing words function as adjectives.here it provides extra information of a particular noun entity...When the verb-ing word acts as an adjective, it doesn't have bearing on the verb of the sentence.The verb must agree in number and makes sense with subject of the sentence.

ex: Growing plants in your backyard need more care..

Here growing is adjective that presents a characteristic of the plants...what kind of plants need more care ? The plants that are growing.

3.VERB-ing as a verb with a helping verb:
These verb-ing along with helping verbs function as verbs...

ex: I am growing banana plants in my farm...here growing is not able to tell the tense of the word but it is helping verb that tells the tense...

Hope it helps...


How about this sentence:

The french handed over the information to the Poles because they believed it to be of no value.

How is The French Plural here? Isn't it referring to a Single Entity "The French"... Please help explain


The French is used to mean the French people - hence plural.

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New post 25 Sep 2016, 10:21
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Your question:

How about this sentence:

The french handed over the information to the Poles because they believed it to be of no value.

How is The French Plural here? Isn't it referring to a Single Entity "The French"... Please help explain[/quote]


Meaning : The french handed over the information to the Poles because they believed it to be of no value.

Let's replace they with it...

The french handed over the information to the poles it believed it to be of no value...Incorrect..

They here refers to the french and the poles..but as per meaning wise it is the French who thought such information is of no value.

When you emphasize the individual actors , not their unity , then collective nouns can be considered plural that too in some rare circumstances.

I'll will agree with Sayant..for the other explanations...

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Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 25 Sep 2016, 12:46
sayantanc2k wrote:
cuhmoon wrote:
msk0657 wrote:
VERB-ING functions:
1. Verb-ING word as a noun
2. Verb-ING word as an adjective
3.Verb-ING as a verb with the helping verb.

1. Verbing words funciton as nouns that denote an action.

EX: Growing plants IS my hobby.

Here growing is the verb-ing noun because the word acts as a noun and hence the subject of the clause, but it also denotes the action.

VERB-ING nouns is that they are always SINGULAR. Reading mystery books gives me thrill..

2.VERB-ING as an adjective.

Verb-ing words function as adjectives.here it provides extra information of a particular noun entity...When the verb-ing word acts as an adjective, it doesn't have bearing on the verb of the sentence.The verb must agree in number and makes sense with subject of the sentence.

ex: Growing plants in your backyard need more care..

Here growing is adjective that presents a characteristic of the plants...what kind of plants need more care ? The plants that are growing.

3.VERB-ing as a verb with a helping verb:
These verb-ing along with helping verbs function as verbs...

ex: I am growing banana plants in my farm...here growing is not able to tell the tense of the word but it is helping verb that tells the tense...

Hope it helps...

This explanation is amazing. Thanks for providing so much conceptual clarity.!!

So to summarize.. If the verbing word is performing the function of a noun, it is usually singular. When as an adjective it depends on the sentence..

Is my understanding correct?

How about this sentence.

Rising property rates is of concern to homeowners

Or

ARE of concern to homeowners?

(should be ARE?)

How about this one:

Rising of property rates IS of concern

Or

ARE of concern.

Since rising is the subject thus singular?


1. Rising property rates is of concern to homeowners.
"Rising" is NOT the subject - it is the adjective for the subject "property rates". Since "rates" is plural, the verb should also be plural. (An adjective cannot be singular or plural. ONLY a noun can be singular or plural).

2. Rising of property rates IS of concern.
Here "rising" is a gerund (noun) and as stated previously in my post, a gerund is always singular. (The sentence is wrong though - concrete noun rise is better than gerund rising.)


There is a fourth use of verb-ing - as a present participle.
The temperature rose drastically, increasing the sale of air-conditioners.


Great explanation! Thank you!!

How about this official question:

Eating saltwater fish may significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and also aid for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, according to three research studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In this case, Eating Saltwater fish --> This should be singular.. How come they use the PLURAL verb Reduce and not REDUCES?

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Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 26 Sep 2016, 01:54
How about this official question:

Your quesstion : Eating saltwater fish may significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and also aid for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, according to three research studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In this case, Eating Saltwater fish --> This should be singular.. How come they use the PLURAL verb Reduce and not REDUCES?

In this sentence, 'eating' is a verb-ing noun that makes the subject of the sentence. But if 'MAY' is removed , then eating will take singular verb 'reduces'.

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Re: Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 26 Sep 2016, 13:24
msk0657 wrote:
How about this official question:

Your quesstion : Eating saltwater fish may significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and also aid for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, according to three research studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In this case, Eating Saltwater fish --> This should be singular.. How come they use the PLURAL verb Reduce and not REDUCES?

In this sentence, 'eating' is a verb-ing noun that makes the subject of the sentence. But if 'MAY' is removed , then eating will take singular verb 'reduces'.


How does May make the verb plural??

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Re: Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2017, 20:01
msk0657 wrote:
How about this official question:

Your quesstion : Eating saltwater fish may significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and also aid for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, according to three research studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In this case, Eating Saltwater fish --> This should be singular.. How come they use the PLURAL verb Reduce and not REDUCES?

In this sentence, 'eating' is a verb-ing noun that makes the subject of the sentence. But if 'MAY' is removed , then eating will take singular verb 'reduces'.

It would be great help if you can throw some light on How does may make singular subject to plural.


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Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2017, 11:23
cuhmoon wrote:
msk0657 wrote:
How about this official question:

Your quesstion : Eating saltwater fish may significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and also aid for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, according to three research studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In this case, Eating Saltwater fish --> This should be singular.. How come they use the PLURAL verb Reduce and not REDUCES?

In this sentence, 'eating' is a verb-ing noun that makes the subject of the sentence. But if 'MAY' is removed , then eating will take singular verb 'reduces'.


shubham2312 wrote:
It would be great help if you can throw some light on How does may make singular subject to plural.


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This is where we get into basics, I think. Well,

What do you use after can, may or should?

Do you say

I can swim OR I can swims

He may come late OR He may comes late

?

So as you see, it's not a matter of may making a singular subject plural. There is no such thing. These forms may, can, should, will etc. take bare infinitive after them.
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Doubts regarding Singular/Plural Subjects   [#permalink] 28 Oct 2017, 11:23
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