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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Subject/Verb agreement & using singular or plural verb in a sentence

    I have a sentence, and I'm not sure which of its version is the correct one - singular or plural:
    * Our customers and their success is top priority
    * Our customers and their success are top priority

    On the one hand, seems "our customers and their success" is plural, so denotes using "are" (there's a rule about connecting several things with "and", which leads to it being plural and using "are", correct?).

    On the other hand, if I restructure the sentence, then what it really says is "(Our) top priority ___ our customers and their success", and here "is" sounds more suitable, because "top priority" is singular (and appears to be the subject).

    I'd appreciate knowing which one is right, and also how I should read this sentence and analyze it, something that would help me with similar, future cases.

    Thank you!

  2. Roman55's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Subject/Verb agreement & using singular or plural verb in a sentence

    I am not a teacher.

    The rule is simply to look at what the subject of the verb is.

    "Our customers and their success are top priority" is correct, and you were right that joining nouns with "and" gives a plural subject.

    With, "Our top priority is our customers and their success" the subject is singular, "priority".

    A common exception to this rule is that of mass nouns such as team/group etc. which can be regarded as plural even though they are grammatically singular.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Subject/Verb agreement & using singular or plural verb in a sentence

    I would place a possessive adjective or a definite article before "top": our top priority or the top priority.

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    #4

    Re: Subject/Verb agreement & using singular or plural verb in a sentence

    Neither is correct without a full stop at the end.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Subject/Verb agreement & using singular or plural verb in a sentence

    Just to clarify post #2, the exception to the rule about collective nouns being singular is far more common in BrE than AmE. We normally use "team, "government", "group", etc. as singular nouns.

  5. Newbie
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    #6

    Re: Subject/Verb agreement & using singular or plural verb in a sentence

    Thank you all very much, it's been very helpful!

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    #7

    Re: Subject/Verb agreement & using singular or plural verb in a sentence

    You're welcome, but a click on the Thank button would have sufficed. It saves everybody's time.

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