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    #1

    was /were

    The laptop together with all the important documents for the conference _______ destroyed in the heavy flood.
    Choose one answer.
    1-is
    2-are
    3-was
    4-were
    I think the answer is 'was'. am I right?


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    #2

    Re: was /were

    I'd say "was," though there is a temptation to say "were." "together with..." is an adverb phrase that describes how the laptop was destroyed. "Laptop" is the subject and it is singular, so "was" is the correct verb.

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    #3

    Re: was /were

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


    (1) Most books tell us not to pay attention to certain phrases when deciding on the verb:

    with
    together with
    including
    as well as
    no less than

    (2) Some good writers use commas in order to prevent any confusion:

    "The laptop, together with all the important documents for the conference, was destroyed in the heavy flood.

    (3) And if you mentally erase the word "together," you will notice that it is even clearer that the verb should be

    singular: The laptop with all the important documents for the conference was destroyed in the heavy flood.

    As you can see, "with all the important documents for the conference" is a prepositional phrase that is being used in an

    adjectival way. That is, it refers to the noun "laptop."

    (4) It is true, however, that in older English, a sentence such as yours might have used a plural verb:

    "Old Sir John with half-a-dozen more are at the door." But in "modern" English, native speakers prefer:

    Old Sir John and half-a-dozen more are at the door.
    Old Sir John with half-a-dozen more is at the door.


    Credit to: College Handbook of Composition by Messers. Woolley, Scott, and Bracher. The fifth edition (1951) published by D.C. Heath and Company of Boston. Page 206.

    A Grammar of the English Language (1931), Vol. II (page 49) by Professor George Oliver Curme.

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