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    #1

    Which one fits better, "is" or "are"?

    (1a) A pencil and an eraser are on the table.

    (1b) There are a pencil and an eraser on the table.

    (2a) A black and a white pencil are on the table.

    (2b) There are a black and a white pencil on the table.

    (3a) Either one pencil or two erasers are on the table.
    (3b) There is either one pencil or two erasers on the table.
    (3c) Either two pencils or one eraser is on the table.
    (3d) There are two pencils or one eraser on the table.

    I have made some sentences above. I hope that everyone agrees with me on the first four sentences. (1a) and (1b) are clear because you are talking about more than one thing. I think you use "are" in (2a) and (2b) for the singular word, "pencil", because you are talking two different color pencils. I think the last four sentences are tricky. I use 'are' in (3a) for the plural noun, erasers, and in (3d) for the plural noun, pencils. In the other two sentences, I use 'is' because 'one pencil' comes before 'two erasers' in (3b) and 'one eraser' comes right before the verb.

    I hope that forum members understand my explanation. Could someone please tell me whether there are any grammar mistakes in my sentences?

    Thank you very much for helping me.

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Which one fits better, "is" or "are"?

    Hm. I'd like to hear what others say, but I think you're on safe ground.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Which one fits better, "is" or "are"?

    Quote Originally Posted by chingchangchong View Post
    There are a black pencil and a white one are on the table
    Should the second 'are' be omitted?

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    #4

    Re: Which one fits better, "is" or "are"?

    Yes.

  3. Roman55's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Which one fits better, "is" or "are"?

    I am not a teacher.

    The logic you applied to (3b) should also be applied to (1b) and (2b).

    In BrE, there + be followed by a series of nouns agrees in number with the first noun in the list.

    There is a pencil and an eraser on the table.
    There is a pencil, a pen and an eraser on the table.
    There are two pencils and an eraser on the table.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Which one fits better, "is" or "are"?

    Not true in AmE.

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