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    #1

    Regarding "Is" or "Are" grammar.

    Sentence: There are/is actually not one but two fifth columns in our group!

    My question/doubt: What would the right verb in the above sentence, are or is ? Would it be wrong to use "are", if yes then why ?

    Thanks

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    #2

    Re: Regarding "Is" or "Are" grammar.

    Quote Originally Posted by razer View Post
    Sentence: There are/is actually not one but two fifth columns in our group!

    My question/doubt: What would the right verb in the above sentence, are or is ? Would it be wrong to use "are", if yes then why ?

    Thanks

    Matter of interpretation, IMO.

    There are [not one but two] columns.
    There are two columns.
    There are columns.


    --
    There is not one column but there are two columns.

    Scientists have revealed that there is not one but two types of killer whale living in UK waters.
    BBC - Earth News - Two killer whale types found in UK waters

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    #3

    Re: Regarding "Is" or "Are" grammar.

    Thanks for your reply buddy. Any teacher or grasp-over-English language folks have to say anything on this ?

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    #4

    Re: Regarding "Is" or "Are" grammar.

    My instincts say "are" for two columns, but the other sounds fine due to the closeness of the one.

    There are not one, but rather two columns.
    There is not one column, but rather two.
    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.

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    #5

    Re: Regarding "Is" or "Are" grammar.

    It's an issue where people are divided- you'll see arguments for both forms. There are 'two columns' so some will argue for a plural verb (grammatical concord), but where the following nouns is singular people will often use a singular verb (the proximity principle).

    I think the quote from the BBC reflects a common British English usage- there are a number of differences in singular/plural concord in the variants and dialects of English.

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