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    #1

    subject-verb agreement

    Is the verb in the following sentence singular and is the pronoun plural?

    Bread and cheese is his usual meal and he has been living on them for two months?


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    #2

    Re: subject-verb agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by svetik View Post
    Is the verb in the following sentence singular and is the pronoun plural?

    Bread and cheese is his usual meal and he has been living on them for two months?
    'bread and cheese' is like 'ham and eggs': one food with two main components. I see justification for the use of singular. I view, however, the use of the plural 'them' as somewhat inconsistent: living on his meal; living on them?


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    #3

    Re: subject-verb agreement

    (Not a teacher)

    'Bread and cheese' is one foodstuff, as Kondorosi said, and so the verb is singular. Also, I think 'with' is a better conjunction to use instead of 'and' if it is one meal.

    The plural 'them' does seem inconsistent. Perhaps the argument for it is that 'them' is a pronoun for the ingredients 'bread and cheese', rather than the combined food.
    Last edited by Linguist__; 22-Dec-2009 at 05:04. Reason: Added part in red

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    #4

    Re: subject-verb agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by svetik View Post
    Is the verb in the following sentence singular and is the pronoun plural?

    Bread and cheese is his usual meal and he has been living on them for two months?
    Of course they are, but I guess you are asking if they are correct.

    "is" is correct, as the combination of bread and cheese is singular.
    I would say 'has been living on it'. But others might disagree.

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    #5

    Re: subject-verb agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Of course they are, but I guess you are asking if they are correct.

    "is" is correct, as the combination of bread and cheese is singular.
    I would say 'has been living on it'. But others might disagree.
    2006, yes, you are right, it was an awkward question, but you understood me right.
    I think that it and them might be used depending on the sense. It- if we mean the combination and them if we mean the ingredients?
    Am I right or them doesn't sound logically?


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    #6

    Re: subject-verb agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by svetik View Post
    2006, yes, you are right, it was an awkward question, but you understood me right.
    I think that it and them might be used depending on the sense. It- if we mean the combination and them if we mean the ingredients?
    Am I right or them doesn't sound logically?
    (Not a teacher)

    I think what you have said here is correct. The pronoun is ambiguous - whether it refers to the meal, or the ingredients. Using the singular 'it' shows you mean the meal, using the plural 'them' shows you mean the ingredients. Since the meal and the ingredients are essentially the same, it doesn't matter which you are referring to in this situation.

    And poor guy! Only having bread and cheese!
    Last edited by Linguist__; 22-Dec-2009 at 05:28. Reason: Spelling mistake (in red)

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