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

Matthew Wai

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Matthew Wai

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

Are both correct?
 
J

J&K Tutoring

Guest
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:

Matthew Wai

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How about the following?
What I want is/are a banana and two apples.
 

emsr2d2

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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.
 
J

J&K Tutoring

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

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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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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