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    #1

    what clause + is or are?

    Martin Hewings' ADVANCED GRAMMAR IN USE (2004 edition, CD-ROM) :
    What remains of the Roman temple are small sections of the outer wall.

    This is a fill-in question and when I fill in the word 'is', the answer shows that I was wrong. My question is:
    Does the form of the verb 'be' after a 'what-clause' depend on the singular or plural of the noun after the 'be'?

    Thank you very much.

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    #2

    Re: what clause + is or are?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Martin Hewings' ADVANCED GRAMMAR IN USE (2004 edition, CD-ROM) :
    What remains of the Roman temple are small sections of the outer wall.

    This is a fill-in question and when I fill in the word 'is', the answer shows that I was wrong. My question is:
    Does the form of the verb 'be' after a 'what-clause' depend on the singular or plural of the noun after the 'be'?

    Thank you very much.
    It is a problem of subject - verb agreement. You have to find the subject of the sentence. In the above sentence, the subject is sections which requires a plural verb:

    sections are

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    #3

    Re: what clause + is or are?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Martin Hewings' ADVANCED GRAMMAR IN USE (2004 edition, CD-ROM) :
    What remains of the Roman temple are small sections of the outer wall.

    This is a fill-in question and when I fill in the word 'is', the answer shows that I was wrong. My question is:
    Does the form of the verb 'be' after a 'what-clause' depend on the singular or plural of the noun after the 'be'?

    Thank you very much.
    In this sentence 'remains' is a verb with the subject 'what' (singular pronoun). It doesn't make sense otherwise. I think 'is' is the correct answer, despite what the book says!

    finta

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    #4

    Re: what clause + is or are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Teia View Post
    It is a problem of subject - verb agreement. You have to find the subject of the sentence. In the above sentence, the subject is sections which requires a plural verb:

    sections are
    Dear Teia,
    Could you tell me where you got the idea that this sentence's subject is the 'sections', not the 'what clause'? Who said what clause cannot be used as a subject? I'd like to know your persuasive evidence, not your opinion. Thank you very much in advance.
    Yours faithfully,
    Joham


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    #5

    Re: what clause + is or are?

    uhm can i know why u answered it "is" ? thx


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    #6

    Re: what clause + is or are?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Martin Hewings' ADVANCED GRAMMAR IN USE (2004 edition, CD-ROM) :
    What remains of the Roman temple are small sections of the outer wall.

    This is a fill-in question and when I fill in the word 'is', the answer shows that I was wrong. My question is:
    Does the form of the verb 'be' after a 'what-clause' depend on the singular or plural of the noun after the 'be'?

    Thank you very much.
    If you reverse the sentence, you will have:

    Small sections of the outer wall are what remains of the Roman temple.

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    #7

    Re: what clause + is or are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    If you reverse the sentence, you will have:

    Small sections of the outer wall are what remains of the Roman temple.
    Dear teachers,
    If we reverse the sentence, we certainly have no problem understanding the question. But why do we have to reverse the sentence? Is there a rule to regulate the use of the predicate of a 'what-clause' subject?
    And finta strongly advises using 'is' rather than 'are' in this sentence, despite what Hewings says in his book. Well, I still feel confused.

    Could other native English teachers help me please? Thank you very much.

    Yours faithfully,
    joham


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    #8

    Re: what clause + is or are?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Martin Hewings' ADVANCED GRAMMAR IN USE (2004 edition, CD-ROM) :
    What remains of the Roman temple are small sections of the outer wall.

    This is a fill-in question and when I fill in the word 'is', the answer shows that I was wrong. My question is:
    Does the form of the verb 'be' after a 'what-clause' depend on the singular or plural of the noun after the 'be'?

    Thank you very much.

    ok I am not a teacher and I am dumb at english
    but in my opinion the reason why it has to be 'are" is that the 'what' makes this sentence into a noun and remains of the Roman temple's remains has to be a subjective. and 'remains' is a plural noun, so the fill-in has to be " are"


    and is there any expert here to help me with this question?


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    #9

    Re: what clause + is or are?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Dear teachers,
    If we reverse the sentence, we certainly have no problem understanding the question. But why do we have to reverse the sentence? Is there a rule to regulate the use of the predicate of a 'what-clause' subject?
    And finta strongly advises using 'is' rather than 'are' in this sentence, despite what Hewings says in his book. Well, I still feel confused.

    Could other native English teachers help me please? Thank you very much.

    Yours faithfully,
    joham
    Reversing this kind of sentence helps to clarify relationships within a sentence. When proofing or editing, I use the technique to make sure the author is clear in what is written.

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    #10

    Re: what clause + is or are?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Dear Teia,
    Could you tell me where you got the idea that this sentence's subject is the 'sections', not the 'what clause'? Who said what clause cannot be used as a subject? I'd like to know your persuasive evidence, not your opinion. Thank you very much in advance.
    Yours faithfully,
    Joham


    The noun sections is the subject of the sentence, though. I am free to express my opinion whenever someone on this forum asks for it, aren`t I? Moreover, Anglika has clearly answered your question. I haven`t got the idea, I merely looked for the subject of the sentence.

    Here are some examples of what clauses:

    Notional agreement seems to govern the number of the verb following a what clause. Consider these Standard examples: What is her name? What are their names? Here name and names govern whether what is to be singular or plural. But when the what is direct object, the what clause can agree with either a singular or plural verb: What I need is names and addresses and What I need are names and addresses are both Standard, although the notional attraction from the plural predicate nominatives will tend to make the plural are the choice. Nearly every other use of the what clause requires a singular verb, as in What we need to know today is how much time is left [how many hours are left].
    source:AGREEMENT OF SUBJECTS AND VERBS 1: CLAUSES BEGINNING WITH WHAT USED AS SUBJECTS. The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. 1993

    Let`s put it some other way:
    What remains of the Roman temple /[there] are small sections of the outer wall/.
    Last edited by Teia; 20-Dec-2007 at 16:49.

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