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  1. #1
    Heather Bacon Guest

    Default Correct language

    I am unsure about the following sentence. Could you tell me whether I should use "was a complete success" or "were a complete success"

    "The company, entertainment, activities and in fact the entire weekend was a complete success and brilliantly orchestrated".

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Correct language

    You'll see arguments for both. Mathematically, it's plural, but after a singular noun, many use a singular verb, so it really depends on whether you prefer mathematical accuracy or the comfort of proximity. I think I'd favour the singular there.

  3. #3
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    MikeNewYork is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: Correct language

    Quote Originally Posted by Heather Bacon View Post
    I am unsure about the following sentence. Could you tell me whether I should use "was a complete success" or "were a complete success"

    "The company, entertainment, activities and in fact the entire weekend was a complete success and brilliantly orchestrated".

    Thanks.
    This is a strange sentence, so you should not form a personal "rule" based on it. Normally, with a compound subject (things joined by "and"), the verb is plural. If this sentence did not have "and in fact the entire weekend" the verb would have to be plural. However, in this sentence, "the entire weekend" sums up the previous items. I would, therefore, choose a singular verb. This is not about proximity for me, but about a summary. In the following sentence, the verb should be plural even though a singular word immediately precedes the verb:

    Four apples, three oranges, and a pear were found on the table.

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