- For Teachers
I have diffiiculty understanding the meaning of the following sentence.
This sentence comes from an article about adopting kids.
Kids are a full time job.
Is that means that parenting kids are a full time job?
If it means that, Is that sentence is grammartic or well-formed ?
How about the downer sentence ?
Kids are full time jobs.
The thing I am curious about is in sentence A, how the plural form of the subject and verb(kids, are) takes the singular form of the noun as a complement (a full time job).
I thought that was not grammatical like sentence B.
A: Kids are a full time job.
B: Apples are a tasty fruit.
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
Good afternoon, infiniteone.
(1) Do I understand your comment correctly?
Are you saying that "Apples are a tasty fruit" is UNgrammatical?
If you are, may I very respectfully suggest that it is, in fact, very "correct."
(2) Unfortunately, I cannot explain the reason.
(3) Maybe (only maybe) the reason is that we are talking about the different kinds of fruits:
TEACHER: Can you name some tasty fruits?
STUDENT 1: Apples are a tasty fruit.
STUDENT 2: Bananas are also a tasty fruit.
STUDENT 3: And don't forget cherries. They are another tasty fruit.
(4) Hopefully, some teacher or non-teacher will explain the "rule" to you and me.
Have a nice day!
Here, "apples" doesn't refer to more than one apple. It refers to one species, Malus domestica.
Some people would prefer to reword a sentence like this to: "The apple is a tasty fruit." That fixes the grammar problem, but it introduces a new potential complication since, in this case, "the apple" doesn't refer to a specific apple.
Good morning, infiniteone.
(1) Thank you for asking such a difficult question. I think I may have found some helpful information.
(2) Yes, you are correct about the rule:
singular noun (or phrase) + IS + singular noun.
Plural noun + ARE + plural noun.
(3) As you know, probably every language has EXCEPTIONS.
(4) You wish to talk about a plural noun (apples) and a singular noun (fruit).
(a) The "rule" is usually this: the verb agrees with the FIRST noun:
(i) Apples + ARE (because "apples" is plural) + a tasty fruit.
(ii) A tasty fruit + IS (because "fruit" is singular) + apples.
(P. S. You may also say: The apple is a tasty fruit; A tasty fruit is the apple.)
(5) Your sentence "Kids are a full-time job" is a little more difficult.
(a) "Are" because "kids" is plural.
(b) But probably you may NOT say: "A full-time job is kids."
(c) In your "apples" sentence, you were identifying something. So you could say "Apples are...." or "A tasty fruit is..."
(d) If I understand my book correctly, your "kids" sentence is not identifying anything. It is describing something -- as an ADJECTIVE does.
(e) When you say "full-time job," I think that you mean it takes all of your time.
(i) Well,then, your sentence almost equals "Kids are time-consuming." As you can see, "time-consuming" is an adjective.
(a) The book I am using has two such examples:
The younger children are a problem.
Dogs are good company.
"Are a problem" and "good company" LOOK like nouns, but the MEANING is clearly ADJECTIVAL. (And, as you know, an IS/ARE sentence with adjectives does not have to be "balanced": He IS nice; They ARE nice.)
Thank you for your great question. I learned so much.
If you want to read about this yourself, see A COMPREHENSIVE GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, by Randolph Quirk , Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik. I have the 1985 edition. There may be a newer edition. Look for "subject-verb concord."