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Is or are

Mind that apostrophe.
johnhemming
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Re: Is or are

#322357

Postby johnhemming » June 28th, 2020, 7:28 pm

Breelander wrote:I find it amusing that no one has yet commented on my Grammarly link in the first reply that seems to say use the plural :D


Grammarly says: A handful of new books are published each week.

That has to be right. Alternatively Five new books are published each week.

However; There is a handful of new books which are published each week.

Or There is a handful of new books being published every week.

Or There is a handful of new books published every week.

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Re: Is or are

#322363

Postby Dod101 » June 28th, 2020, 7:42 pm

But that is exactly the point that Mike88 made about the subject of the sentence and I think covers your point.

Dod

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Re: Is or are

#322506

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 29th, 2020, 11:28 am

We seem to have seen a plurality of singular opinions on this subject.

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Re: Is or are

#322510

Postby Arborbridge » June 29th, 2020, 11:35 am

With absolute certainty, it should be "is". That's and "is" with no "ifs" or "buts".

TJH, is also correct - there is a more elegant way, or are more elegant ways, of structuring the sentence.

Arb.

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Re: Is or are

#322511

Postby chas49 » June 29th, 2020, 11:35 am

Moderator Message:
As noted quite a long way up the thread, this had the potential to become OT for DAK - and it has. I'm moving it to a more fitting home - Pedants' Place

marronier
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Re: Is or are

#322622

Postby marronier » June 29th, 2020, 6:49 pm

I think you is pedantic on insisting on "there is " , but euphonic when you are using " there are ".

Either way, the French solve it by making " il y a " do the job of both.

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Re: Is or are

#322625

Postby Lootman » June 29th, 2020, 7:12 pm

marronier wrote:I think you is pedantic on insisting on "there is " , but euphonic when you are using " there are ".

Either way, the French solve it by making " il y a " do the job of both.

French may be simpler in that case. Also with differentiating singular and plural "you" with "tu" and "vous".

More generally French makes things more complicated by pointlessly assigning genders to nouns, leading to a far greater array of errors.

But at least it only has two genders and not three, like German. The genius of English is that we taught the continentals that gender in nouns is superfluous.

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Re: Is or are

#322627

Postby bungeejumper » June 29th, 2020, 7:22 pm

Memories of the questions my second form English classes used to ask me back in the seventies:

"Sir, what's correct? Aston Villa is brill, or Aston Villa are brill?"

Naah, Sir, Aston Villa are rubbish."

BJ

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Re: Is or are

#322764

Postby stewamax » June 30th, 2020, 1:13 pm

At the risk of opening another can of English worms: if there are lots and lots of companies, are there handfuls of companies or handsful of companies?

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Re: Is or are

#322769

Postby GoSeigen » June 30th, 2020, 1:32 pm

marronier wrote:I think you is pedantic on insisting on "there is " , but euphonic when you are using " there are ".

Either way, the French solve it by making " il y a " do the job of both.


Explanation of the existential use of the copula here, including discussion of the above comparison to French:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copula_(linguistics)#Existential_usage


GS
Last edited by GoSeigen on June 30th, 2020, 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is or are

#322770

Postby GoSeigen » June 30th, 2020, 1:36 pm

Lootman wrote:
marronier wrote:I think you is pedantic on insisting on "there is " , but euphonic when you are using " there are ".

Either way, the French solve it by making " il y a " do the job of both.

French may be simpler in that case. Also with differentiating singular and plural "you" with "tu" and "vous".


Actually English also differentiates second person singular and plural but it's archaic: "thou hast" vs "you have"; "thou art" vs "you are".

Archaic but still regularly used in context... maybe used in dialect too? Yorkshire?? Scotland??

GS

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Re: Is or are

#322777

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 30th, 2020, 2:03 pm

GoSeigen wrote:
Lootman wrote:
marronier wrote:I think you is pedantic on insisting on "there is " , but euphonic when you are using " there are ".

Either way, the French solve it by making " il y a " do the job of both.

French may be simpler in that case. Also with differentiating singular and plural "you" with "tu" and "vous".


Actually English also differentiates second person singular and plural but it's archaic: "thou hast" vs "you have"; "thou art" vs "you are".

Archaic but still regularly used in context... maybe used in dialect too? Yorkshire?? Scotland??

GS

Thou is also familiar usage: you wouldn't use it in a professional situation or to address a stranger. A clearer analogy is German "Du", vs "Sie" which is both plural and singular-formal.

Biblical "thou" would've been making a point back in 1611.

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Re: Is or are

#322778

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 30th, 2020, 2:05 pm

stewamax wrote:At the risk of opening another can of English worms: if there are lots and lots of companies, are there handfuls of companies or handsful of companies?

I have been, as one does in this season, enjoying the geeseberry.

Well, you don't say "gooses" now, do you?

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Re: Is or are

#323089

Postby stewamax » July 1st, 2020, 9:04 pm

Concentrating only on the cackling bit, I rather like ganzenberry (Dutch) or possibly gänzeberry (German).
"A portion of ganzenberry pie please waiter" trippeth lightly off the tongue and will, I assume, have more than one berry in it unless the restaurant has hit hard times.

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Re: Is or are

#323096

Postby richfool » July 1st, 2020, 9:44 pm

So what about: this handful of companies and that handful of companies?! Two separate singular handfuls.

As far as I am concerned, it has to be a singular handful, and thus "is", whether the hand contains one or many items.

To use a different example: there is a handful of peanuts, .... not there are a handful of peanuts;
or, here is a handful of peanuts, .... and not here are a handful of peanuts.

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Re: Is or are

#323106

Postby Mike88 » July 1st, 2020, 10:45 pm

richfool wrote:So what about: this handful of companies and that handful of companies?! Two separate singular handfuls.

As far as I am concerned, it has to be a singular handful, and thus "is", whether the hand contains one or many items.

To use a different example: there is a handful of peanuts, .... not there are a handful of peanuts;
or, here is a handful of peanuts, .... and not here are a handful of peanuts.


What looks and sounds correct isn't necessarily correct. In grammar the verb should match the subject. In this case the subject is "companies" (plural) so the verb should also be plural, namely "are".

I bet the original poster is none the wiser after reading this thread.

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Re: Is or are

#323150

Postby Gengulphus » July 2nd, 2020, 5:04 am

stewamax wrote:Concentrating only on the cackling bit, I rather like ganzenberry (Dutch) or possibly gänzeberry (German).
"A portion of ganzenberry pie please waiter" trippeth lightly off the tongue and will, I assume, have more than one berry in it unless the restaurant has hit hard times.

It trippeth not so lightly - the Dutch pronunciation of 'g' is guttural...

Though if by any chance anyone is heading for the Netherlands and wants to ask for some gooseberries in Dutch, don't worry about that - instead, concentrate on pronouncing the 'ui' in 'kruisbessen' correctly!

Gengulphus

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Re: Is or are

#323159

Postby GoSeigen » July 2nd, 2020, 7:02 am

Mike88 wrote:
richfool wrote:So what about: this handful of companies and that handful of companies?! Two separate singular handfuls.

As far as I am concerned, it has to be a singular handful, and thus "is", whether the hand contains one or many items.

To use a different example: there is a handful of peanuts, .... not there are a handful of peanuts;
or, here is a handful of peanuts, .... and not here are a handful of peanuts.


What looks and sounds correct isn't necessarily correct. In grammar the verb should match the subject. In this case the subject is "companies" (plural) so the verb should also be plural, namely "are".

I bet the original poster is none the wiser after reading this thread.


Yes, very confusing thread.

The subject is NOT "companies". It is "A handful of companies". That is why it's so tricky.

richfool is also confusing the matter. The subject is not determined by the form of the subject but by its meaning. A handful of companies is the same in form as a handful of peanuts but they mean different things. The former is merely idiomatic and means "a few companies" or some "companies". The latter implies an actual hand full of peanuts. Thus it is perfectly natural to use the plural verb in one case and singular in the other.

In other contexts the choice between singular and plural will be less clear-cut and a judgement or artistic choice is required.

GS

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Re: Is or are

#323200

Postby Mike88 » July 2nd, 2020, 10:00 am

GoSeigen wrote:
Mike88 wrote:
richfool wrote:So what about: this handful of companies and that handful of companies?! Two separate singular handfuls.

As far as I am concerned, it has to be a singular handful, and thus "is", whether the hand contains one or many items.

To use a different example: there is a handful of peanuts, .... not there are a handful of peanuts;
or, here is a handful of peanuts, .... and not here are a handful of peanuts.


What looks and sounds correct isn't necessarily correct. In grammar the verb should match the subject. In this case the subject is "companies" (plural) so the verb should also be plural, namely "are".

I bet the original poster is none the wiser after reading this thread.


Yes, very confusing thread.

The subject is NOT "companies". It is "A handful of companies". That is why it's so tricky.

richfool is also confusing the matter. The subject is not determined by the form of the subject but by its meaning. A handful of companies is the same in form as a handful of peanuts but they mean different things. The former is merely idiomatic and means "a few companies" or some "companies". The latter implies an actual hand full of peanuts. Thus it is perfectly natural to use the plural verb in one case and singular in the other.

It boils down to defining the subject. You say it is "a handful of companies". I say "companies". In the case of the former you are correct. If the latter I am right.

In other contexts the choice between singular and plural will be less clear-cut and a judgement or artistic choice is required.

GS


It boils down to defining the subject. If the subject is "a handful of companies" you are correct. If the subject is "companies" I am right

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Re: Is or are

#323222

Postby richfool » July 2nd, 2020, 11:04 am

Perhaps it would be better to be holding a group of companies.


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