For this sentence,

"The manner in which the government has handled this whole issue, coupled with other concerns, HAVE/HAS left most people puzzled."


Which one, have or has, should I use???


I think in terms of meaning, it is more accurate to use plural; However, it seems that the manner is the subject, so HAS should be used.


Or is it an example of "X and Y ARE. . ."??? 


For X or Y, should I use is/are? what if y is/are plural but x is not


Thank you 

Has have asked Apr 30 '14 at 20:58 alan New member

2 answers


Yes, the subject is manner and the right verb form is has.  The interrupter between the commas can be deleted from the sentence and you will be able to see the answer better.  When the interrupter ends in a plural noun, it can create an awkward sentence.  The best solution is usually to find a different way to write the same thing.


Coupled with other concerns, the manner in which the government has handled this whole issue has left most people puzzled.


I see a bit of a problem with the context of the sentence, though.  Coupled with other concerns indicates that this issue is similar to other concerns.  If the same thing has happened before, why would most people puzzled?  Perhaps you mean something like this:


In light of other recent events, the manner in which the government has handled this issue is concerning to most people.


"X and Y" is a compound subject - there are two things.  It takes a plural verb.

"X or Y" is one or the other - still only one thing.  It takes a singular verb.

If one is singular and the other is plural, I believe you put the plural one last and use the plural form of the verb.


A clown or two dancing dogs are sent to perform at the party.

link comment answered Apr 30 '14 at 23:10 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Thank you so much for your answer! It is very helpful. But still I find it quite strange that two completely identical sentenses can be written with two different verbs.

iF I did not misunderstood you, then i guess the following two sentences are both correct:


1. A clown or two dancing dogs ARE sent to perform at the party.


2. Two dancing dogs or a clown IS sent to perform at the party.


Twisted the sentence a bit... what if one or none? Or two or none? should I use singular or plural verb?

link answered May 06 '14 at 18:37 alan New member

It depends on whether "none" refers to "not one" or "not any." I know, the English language is full of weirdness! Here's a page that explains that point:

Patty TMay 06 '14 at 20:15

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