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    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 1

    Why did CNN use was rather than were

    I noticed this sentence on today and wondered why they used singular past tense form of the verb to be rather than the plural.

    "Eighty-five million dollars in goods meant for Katrina victims was given away to agencies by FEMA, a CNN investigation has found."

    What rule am I missing?

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434

    Re: Why did CNN use was rather than were

    No rule.It is "was" because it is not the individual items that count in this sentence, but the overall concept of the donation.

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      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
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    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146

    Re: Why did CNN use was rather than were

    Expressions of time, money and distance usually take a singular verb. The subject in your sentence is 'eighty-five million dollars'.

    'Eighty-five million dollars in (cash)(credit)(goods).........was........'

    Five miles was too far to walk.

    Four hours is not enough time.


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