verb: is or are?


Hi there,

Can you help me find the right verb in the sentence below, please? Is or Are? Thanks in advance for your help.


from dummy


My Sentence: The broad variety of digital maps available from the center (is / are) a great resource for this research.

Verbs asked May 14 '12 at 15:54 dummy New member

Are makes sense.

Simplifying your sentence, "the different maps available are a great resource".

adnan faquiMay 14 '12 at 16:06

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2 answers


Adnan is on track with his suggestion to simplify your sentence, but he may have pared too much. Perhaps:


"The many digital maps available from the center are a great research resource."


I'm going to ask Tolley to come back and explain further.  I seem to remember being told that "variety" is a collective noun that can be either singular or plural. I also seem to remeber hearing that whether it was singular or pllural depends upon what article is used before it. "A variety of ..." is plural and "The variety of ..." is singular.  Have I been led astray?  

link answered May 14 '12 at 16:32 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Jeff, you may be remembering the British rules, where a lot of collective nouns are treated as plural, whereas American English treats many collectives as singular. That's where I am coming from. There seems to be a push in secondary grammar books in the US to treat collectives as singular, and I understand that British texts haven't changed the traditional interpretation in a long, long, time. I have not seen the rule about the article. On England's SkySports yesterday, the British announcer said, "Manchester City are champions once again." The American announcer said, "Manchester City is the champion. . ." That being my example, I have the debate occasionally with teachers and writers whether sentences such as the examples I gave are actually dependent upon the direct object number. It may be interesting to throw this to my grad students for some research of grammar books versus style manuals versus publication guides.

TolleyMay 14 '12 at 16:41

Thanks, that helps.

Based on your last sentence, I looked it up in the Chicago Manual Style. It gives the rule I discribe for mass nouns followed by a prepositional phase. Interesting ...

Jeff PribylMay 14 '12 at 17:57

Drat, I hate this comment format. I touch type while looking at the screen. My fingers don't always type what I think, and I rely on the screen to see and correct mistakes. But the comment format causes some words to disappear outside the box, and I can't see the mistake until I've posted. Describe.

Jeff PribylMay 14 '12 at 18:00

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I thought this question would be very simple to the native English speakers. Very interesting! Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate it.

link answered May 14 '12 at 17:48 dummy New member

Well yes, but the British don't really speak the same language as the Americans. And where the two differ ....

Jeff PribylMay 14 '12 at 19:11

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