plural with 'is'?

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bertietheblue

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I've just picked up the Guardian and read this:

'Ashley Cole's pace and attack down the flank is key'

Fine? Should be 'are'? Either, with slightly different meanings?
 

corum

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I've just picked up the Guardian and read this:

'Ashley Cole's pace and attack down the flank is key'

Fine? Should be 'are'? Either, with slightly different meanings?

If I trim the subject, I get this:

[STRIKE]Ashley Cole's[/STRIKE] pace and attack [STRIKE]down the flank[/STRIKE].

Usually, a compound NP (noun phrase) (in subject position) assigns plural number to its verb. When, however, the compound is treated as one, singular is okay.
 

corum

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The hustle and bustle of this city attracts me.
 

bertietheblue

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If I trim the subject, I get this:

[STRIKE]Ashley Cole's[/STRIKE] pace and attack [STRIKE]down the flank[/STRIKE].

Usually, a compound NP (noun phrase) (in subject position) assigns plural number to its verb. When, however, the compound is treated as one, singular is okay.

Yeah, I gave a bad example for the answer to be 'either, or - it depends on the meaning'. I was thinking what if, for example, 'pace' meant general pace and not pace down the flank? But then you wouldn't say 'Ashley Cole's attack down the flank'; you'd have to say 'Ashley Cole's attacks down the flank', making the plural necessary.
 

corum

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bertietheblue

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I take it you're not supporting an English-speaking country, not that I'd have known from your amazing command of the language!
 

corum

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At club level, the best football is played in Spain, Italy, and England. Football anywhere else is satirical mimicry.
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