single subject , plural verb ?


After his family is murdered or after his family are murdered. Which is correct ?

asked Mar 10 '13 at 06:26 Kenneth R. France New member

2 answers


First of all, I cannot imagine a meaningful sentence with the be verb in the present tense.


In any event, in this context family is considered a singular noun so the correct verb would be is or, in the more natural past tense, was.

link answered Mar 10 '13 at 08:00 Shawn Mooney Expert

Shawn -- Literary Present. As I'm sure you know from your other postings, literature is assumed to exist in the eternal present -- so plot events are typically described in the present tense. After his girl friend is killed in the opening scene of The Bourne Supremecy, Jason travels to Italy to learn why he again is being targeted by the CIA. This stye, however, may not be what the questioner intended.

Jeff PribylMar 10 '13 at 22:11

add comment

It seems to be a section/ piece of some sentence.

As Oxford online dictionary says, family can be used as both plural and singular.

In that case, it depends on the rest of your sentence. If the word family is used as singular, 'is' is proper.

link comment answered Mar 10 '13 at 11:44 Rahul Gupta Expert

Your answer

Write at least 20 characters

Have a question about English grammar, style or vocabulary use? Ask now to get help from Grammarly experts for FREE.