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  1. #1
    birgit33 is offline Member
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    Default "Both learning to speak and write English is/are important."

    "Both learning to speak and write English is/are important." If this is a correct sentence, which verb should one use : "are" because of the word both ?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: "Both learning to speak and write English is/are important."

    Yes, but it would be better as: Learning both to speak and to write English are important, or, for those who don't mind splitting their infinitives, Learning to both speak and write English are important
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: "Both learning to speak and write English is/are important."

    I'm not entirely sure. Learning is the gerund subject, so it should be singular, and the use of "both" is misplaced.

    Learning to speak and write English is important.

    Otherwise, it can be rearranged as a plural.

    Learning to speak, and learning to write, are both important.'

    Just my two cents.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: "Both learning to speak and write English is/are important."

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    I'm not entirely sure. Learning is the gerund subject, so it should be singular, and the use of "both" is misplaced.

    Learning to speak and write English is important.

    Otherwise, it can be rearranged as a plural.

    Learning to speak, and learning to write, are both important.'

    Just my two cents.
    I agree, but you have omitted "English" - perhaps to avoid the awkwardness of using it twice.
    To change the OP's sentence only minimally, I would suggest:
    "Both learning to speak English and learning to write it are important."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: "Both learning to speak and write English is/are important."

    The responses from both konungursvia and Raymott are more satisfactory than my post #2.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Both learning to speak and write English is/are important."

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    The responses from both konungursvia and Raymott are more satisfactory than my post #2.
    But I don't understand the compulsion to use a construction that makes such a big thing about a difficult grammar point. Why not just start 'It is important...'? Or separate the two options: 'WritingEnglish is important but so's speaking it'.

    b

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Both learning to speak and write English is/are important."

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    But I don't understand the compulsion to use a construction that makes such a big thing about a difficult grammar point. Why not just start 'It is important...'? Or separate the two options: 'WritingEnglish is important but so's speaking it'.
    Those are indeed alternatives, but I think a construction with 'both ...and' is natural enough. The thread has become longer than it should have been because konungursvia and Raymott stepped in to correct my unsatisfactory response.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: "Both learning to speak and write English is/are important."

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    But I don't understand the compulsion to use a construction that makes such a big thing about a difficult grammar point. b
    Because it's all part of the game?

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Both learning to speak and write English is/are important."

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    The thread has become longer than it should have been because konungursvia and Raymott stepped in to correct my unsatisfactory response.
    May I rephrase that?

    The thread has become longer than it should have been because my inital response was flawed. konungursvia and Raymott stepped in to correct it.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  10. #10
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Both learning to speak and write English is/are important."

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Because it's all part of the game?
    (But the way I play the game - of communicating rather than Doing Grammar - is that I find a simple way to say what I need (and indeed, in language classes I was fairly flexible in my interpretation of the truth about my home life ).

    b

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