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Thread: Amount ... are

  1. #11
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Amount ... are

    I would say "are." I think there's a loophole in the rules somewhere that allows this. It doesn't sound right to my ear to use "is" here.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Amount ... are

    A ____ of ____ can be used two ways.

    One is to make the A ___ the quantifier, simply telling you how many of the second ____ there are.

    Many students are entering the museum
    Several students are entering the museum.
    A bunch of students are...
    A busload of student are...

    It only makes sense to use the plural form in that case. I would argue that "A massive amount of resources..." is being used that way.

    The other way is when the A ____ is the subject of the sentence and the second ____ is simply telling you more about that noun.

    A family of 12 is hard to feed.
    A colony of red-tailed warblers is...
    A village of people who had never contacted the outside world before was discovered.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Amount ... are

    I'm going to play devil's advocate here:

    A large number of people is/are attending the concert tonight?

    Which would you say is correct? Is or are?

  4. #14
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Amount ... are

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I'm going to play devil's advocate here:

    A large number of people is/are attending the concert tonight?

    Which would you say is correct? Is or are?
    I'm going to abstain.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Amount ... are

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    OK, I read that wrong. I thought he was asking if you would say "is" or "are."
    No, you read it right.
    I'd say "are", since the sense is plural, as it is in emsr2d2's example.
    Last edited by Raymott; 24-Jun-2011 at 16:42.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: Amount ... are

    I would always use plural with "A [large] number of..."

    I would use "is" with "The number of... "

    A number of questions were raised.
    The number of questions raised was surprising.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. #17
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Amount ... are

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen165 View Post
    Why "are" instead of "is"?

    "After an attack like 9/11 in the United States or 7/7 in London, a massive amount of resources are inevitably deployed to shield the most precious targets, but there is a Sisyphean element to such a task."

    Thanks!

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Allen:

    (1) Here is what some experts have written:

    (a) Mr. Michael Swan's Practical English Usage says:

    "A large number of problems still have to be solved" is "more

    natural" than "A large amount of problems [still have to be solved]."

    (b) Mr. L.G. Alexander's Longman English Grammar says we use "A great

    amount of" + uncountable noun. His example: "A great amount of money

    is spent on research." He tells us to use "A great number of" for

    plural countable nouns. His example: A great number of our students are

    American.

    *** THEN HE ADDS:

    "Some native speakers use amount of with countable nouns as well:

    A large /great amount of our investments are in property."

    (c) Webster's Niinth New Collegiate Dictionary does not discuss the verb

    question but it reminds us:

    "The less common use of amount with count nouns has been frequently

    criticized; it seens to occur most often when the number of things can

    be visualized [my emphasis] as a mass <glad to furnish any amount of

    black pebbles> or when money is involved <a substantial amount of

    loans>.

    The bottom line:


    If I understand those experts, it seems that the sentence you quoted

    should refer to "a massive number of resources are ...."


    Sincerely,


    James

  8. #18
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    Default Re: Amount ... are

    It's the same as

    Brazil play England tonight.

    Some people may say plays.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Amount ... are

    Quote Originally Posted by Offroad View Post
    It's the same as

    Brazil play England tonight.

    Some people may say plays.
    No, it's a slightly different concept. You're referring to the problem of whether 'group' or 'team' or 'committee' is treated as singular or plural. There is disagreement here about this.

    In the "amount of/number of" case, we all know that 'amount' and number' are singular, yet those of us who are game enough to give an opinion, all say we'd still use 'are'. So, the explanation is different.
    It could be that we all instinctively realise that "a huge amount of resources" means "many resources"; "a large number of people" means "many people". The plural verb is correct. If anything, the use of 'amount' and 'number' is wrong - but it's what we say.

    Also, I think that when "resources" is changed to something like "apples" (of which the amount can be quantified meaningfully, eg. 4.5 tons), we could say "A large amount apples (4.5 tons) was sent". But to say that 600 tons of resources was sent, when the resources are a heterogenous mix of items and hence are not meaningfully quantified like this, the sense become "many resources".

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