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  1. #1
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Matthew Wai is offline VIP Member
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    What I want is/are a calculator and an electronic dictionary.

    https://www.englishforums.com/Englis...gzmxp/post.htm
    On the above forum, a teacher told me that 'are' was preferable in 'What I want are two apples and two bananas'.

    http://thegrammarexchange.infopop.cc...9/m/8402937427
    On the above forum, I found this sentence: 'What I want is a calculator and an electronic dictionary'.

    Should 'are' be used instead of 'is' above?
    I am not a teacher.

  2. #2
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    Re: What I want is/are a calculator and an electronic dictionary.

    1. What I want are two apples and a banana.
    2. What I want is an apple and a banana.

    Are both correct?
    I am not a teacher.

  3. #3
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: What I want is/are a calculator and an electronic dictionary.

    The verb should agree with the subject (what):

    1a. What I want is two apples. Two apples are what I want.

    1b. What I want is a banana. A banana is what I want.
    Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 26-Aug-2017 at 07:50. Reason: correct a mistake

  4. #4
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    Re: What I want is/are a calculator and an electronic dictionary.

    How about the following?
    What I want is/are a banana and two apples.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: What I want is/are a calculator and an electronic dictionary.

    Part of the reason that it's not necessarily clear how this works is that native speakers don't frequently start a sentence with "What I want is/are ..." If they're answering the question "What do you want?", they're more likely to simply say "I want ..." followed by the name of the item(s) or just list the items.

    What do you want?
    I want a banana/I want a banana and two apples/I want a calculator, three slide rules and a compass.

    What do you want?
    A banana/A banana and two apples/A calculator, three slide rules and a compass.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. #6
    Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Matthew Wai is offline VIP Member
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    Re: What I want is/are a calculator and an electronic dictionary.

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    What I want is two apples.
    If so, should 'is' be used instead of 'are' below?
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    https://www.englishforums.com/Englis...gzmxp/post.htm
    On the above forum, a teacher told me that 'are' was preferable in 'What I want are two apples and two bananas'.
    I am not a teacher.

  7. #7
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: What I want is/are a calculator and an electronic dictionary.

    Yes, and further down someone else posted this: "How many times are you going to ask this question in one form or another, Matthew?"

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: What I want is/are a calculator and an electronic dictionary.

    Singular and plural are difficult issues, and there are differences between the variants. It doesn't all come down to mathematics. You will find differences of opinion on these issues.

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