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    #1

    "ten pennies are a dime" or "ten pennies is a dime"

    Greetings

    I think there is a very basic rule of grammar here regarding the subject being plural, but this one still confuses me. Which one is correct and why?

    "Ten pennies are a dime"
    or
    "Ten pennies is a dime"

    Do we use 'is' or 'are'. I would think 'are' as 'ten pennies' is plural, but "Ten pennies *is* a dime" sounds correct, where as using 'are' sounds strangly incorrect.

    Just for the record, I'm aware that in a sentence like "Three cars were in the accident," clearly we would use the plural form 'were' versus 'was' because 'three cars' is plural.

    Is it possible that the same is true for "Ten pennies are a dime," and that it perhaps just sounds strange to a speaker of American English?

    Thanks in advance for your comments. This site is great!

    former

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    #2

    Re: "ten pennies are a dime" or "ten pennies is a dime"

    Just for clarity, this is not a general question on simple present tense, but a question specific to the sentences:

    "Ten pennies are a dime"
    or
    "Ten pennies is a dime"

    I asked a math teacher and he said ten pennies was(were?) a 'set,' singular and thus 'is' was correct. It was an interesting explanation, coming from a math teacher, but I am still leaning towards the rule of using simple present tense with singular or plural subjects.

    Maybe I've answered my own question, but "Ten pennies is a dime" still sounds like the correct answer, even though it would appear to contradict the rule for using simple present tense.

    Any thoughts or insight would be greatly appreciated.

    former

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    #3

    Re: "ten pennies are a dime" or "ten pennies is a dime"

    I think you'll find people arguing for both sides. I think both could be used, depending on whether you were seeing them as a set or as individual coins.

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