Subject and verb agreement


When given a list of needs does that not make the needs plural and therefore the verb would also be plural?

See example:

Basic needs such as shelter, access to pure water and sanitation, nutrition, education for children and appropriate seasonal clothing are addressed.
asked Sep 19 '12 at 20:02 Virginia Klein New member

1 answer


I was a bit confused by your question, because "a list of needs" would go by the singular "list" as the subject.  But that is not how the sentence in question is written.  "Basic needs" is the plural subject, so "are" is the appropriate verb.   


If Grammarly's software is telling you that the verb is wrong, I suspect that it got confused by a missing comma in your list of needs.  Though some argue that the serial comma does not need to be placed before the last item on the list, it is always the best practice to do so.  It adds clarity and consistency.  Note that one of your items listed (access to pure water and sanitation) has the word and in it.  Without the final comma before "and appropriate seasonal clothing" it make that last phrase appear to be part of education for children. 

link answered Sep 19 '12 at 21:27 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Yes, it must have got confused . . . again.

"Basic needs . . . are addressed." Correct.

Peter GuessOct 06 '12 at 14:27

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