Separate subjects joined with and
need a plural verb unless they are not really
Subjects joined with and can be singular
or plural. The word and means about the
same thing as a "+" in math-it means "both." Whenever
you join two subjects with and, you are
obviously talking about more than one-about both-and
have to use a plural verb.
Understanding English grammar and
knowing how to use grammar effectively are
important to a good communicator.
The investment broker and her
assistant were at the meeting yesterday.
The two subjects in each sentence could be split
and used in two separate sentences (this time
with singular verbs, of course) without modifying
the wording of the subjects themselves, as shown
Understanding English grammar is
important to a good writer.
Knowing how to use grammar effectively
is important to a good writer.
The investment broker was at
the meeting yesterday.
Her assistant was at the meeting
Sometimes, a single subject happens to
have the word and in it:
My friend and associate (the
Ham and eggs (one menu item)
These are singular subjects (subjects
that identify just one person or thing) that have
the word and in them. Thus, we could construct
the following sentences using singular verbs.
My friend and associate is attending
the meeting. (We could not separate myfriend and associate into separate
sentences without adding another my before
Ham and eggs is my favorite breakfast.
(Ham and eggs is one breakfast dish-one
menu item. Thus, we would not communicate the
same idea if we said Ham is myfavorite
breakfast and eggs are my favorite breakfast.)
Separate subjects joined with and need
a plural verb. But if the two subjects are not
really separate subjects, we use a singular verb.