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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    is and are

    I have two specific examples where I am unsure about which is the correct one to use.

    Example 1
    There is 15 minutes left...
    There are 15 minutes left...

    I have always used "are", but someone questioned me about it, and I just wanted to make sure.

    Example 2
    Grammar and spelling is a strong area of mine.
    Grammar and spelling are a strong area of mine.

    Considering both grammar and spelling are singular nouns, I have always used "is", but I am unsure about it. Does the predicate matter at all?

    For instance, if I said: Grammar and spelling are both strong areas of mine. Would that be correct as well?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: is and are

    Quote Originally Posted by ENGLE View Post
    "There is 15 minutes left..."
    "There are 15 minutes left..."

    I have always used "are", but someone questioned me about it, and I just wanted to make sure.
    'Are' is correct; 'is' is incorrect. In informal conversation, people sometimes use "there's", but I don't recommend this.

    "Grammar and spelling is a strong area of mine"
    "Grammar and spelling are a strong area of mine".

    Considering both grammar and spelling are singular nouns, I have always used "is", but I am unsure about it. Does the predicate matter at all? [/QUOTE] It's the subject that decides which form of the full verb we use. If you consider Grammar and Spelling to be so closely related as to make one particular area, then you could use the singular - rather as we say "fish and chips is my favourite meal" - so, "Grammar and Spelling is a strong area of mine".

    'a + b are a singular noun is a bit of an odd mixture, though you will hear it.

    For instance, if I said: Grammar and spelling are both strong areas of mine. Would that be correct as well?[/QUOTE]That's fine.
    Last edited by 5jj; 12-Aug-2011 at 13:18. Reason: typo

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    #3

    Re: is and are

    [QUOTE=ENGLE;787014]



    Example 1
    There is 15 minutes left...
    There are 15 minutes left...

    I have always used "are", but someone questioned me about it, and I just wanted to make sure.


    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    (1) Welcome to usingenglish.

    (2) An outstanding teacher has just given you and me the answer.

    (3) Currently, non-teachers like me are allowed to give our two cents' worth so long as we warn you with the words "Not a teacher" before you start reading our posts.

    (4) The teacher said that "There is 15 minutes left" is incorrect.

    (a) I most respectfully and humbly wonder whether other teachers agree with his

    statement.

    (b) According to many books used here in the United States, time expressions often

    take a singular verb if they refer to an amount of time.

    (i) For example, I think (repeat: think) that most American teachers might say to

    a class that is taking a test: "Sorry to disturb you, students. But there is only 15

    minutes left. Please get ready to turn in your exams."

    (5) For example, Professor Paul Roberts in Understanding English says that "a

    fixed quantity [my emphasis] of something" usually has a singular verb:

    Three minutes was set as the length of each talk.

    He then says that "[s]ometimes the idea of plurality is dominant, and a plural

    verb is used":

    Those three minutes were the worst I ever spent.

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    #4

    Re: is and are

    I would use the plural. There are 15 minutes left.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: is and are

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    I most respectfully and humbly wonder whether other teachers agree with his statement.
    I am impressed with your tactful way of suggesting that I might not be 100% correct.

    According to many books used here in the United States, time expressions often take a singular verb if they refer to an amount of time.

    (i) For example, I think (repeat: think) that most American teachers might say to a class that is taking a test: "Sorry to disturb you, students. But there is only 15 minutes left.
    You may be right; not being an American, I can't say. I can say that the use of the uncontracted 'is' is rare among British teachers.

    Professor Paul Roberts in Understanding English says that "a fixed quantity [my emphasis] of something" usually has a singular verb:

    Three minutes was set as the length of each talk.

    He then says that "[s]ometimes the idea of plurality is dominant, and a plural verb is used":

    Those three minutes were the worst I ever spent.
    I do not disagree with Roberts. Just as I would say, "Fifty pounds/dollars is a lot of money ...", so I would say, "Three minutes is a long time"; however, I would not say, "There is fifteen minites left".

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    #6

    Re: is and are

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    [...] however, I would not say, "There is fifteen minites left".
    I would, and I don't think this is wrong or uncommon.

    A: How many minutes are left?
    B: There are fifteen minutes left.

    C: How much time is left?
    D: There is fifteen minutes left.

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