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    #1

    a wide range of

    My question is whether "A wide range of products/books/technologies..." should be followed by a singular verb or a plural verb. I consulted COCA and found both are used. Please look at my sentence below.

    "A wide range of
    bread, pastries, fruit jam, fruit juices, sports drinks, soft drinks, tea, etc. (A. were B. was) found to contain industrial plasticizers."

    I wonder which is a better choice, A or B? Thank you a lot.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a wide range of

    The subject is "range". I would use the singular "was".

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    #3

    Re: a wide range of

    I can't fault Mike's answer.

    I would always say 'A wide range of pastries was available'. However, in this case, there is so much distance between the subject and verb — with a mixture of so many plural and uncountable nouns in between — that I think I might use 'were available', and risk being arrested by the grammar police.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: a wide range of

    I think the OP might be interested in the following discussion, but I am not a teacher.
    http://random-idea-english.blogspot....-range-of.html

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: a wide range of

    Another complication is that if the singular is used, the implication is that the impurities were found in the range only - not in any specific item listed. The plasticizers might have been found in just the bread for example. But I think the intended meaning is that impurities were found in each of the items listed.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: a wide range of

    I don't think the original sentence implied that.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: a wide range of

    I found the following example where a plural verb is used after 'a range of', but I am not a teacher.
    'A fairly narrow range of people are responsible for key decisions.' (My emphasis.) ── quoted from http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/range_1

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