Can't agree on the subject of this sentence


We are having a discussion about subject verb agreement. Is the subject "the power and portability" or "the new phone?" Obviously, this would make a difference on if I should use arrive or arrives for the verb.

Thanks for your help.

See example:

The power and portability of the new phone arrive today
asked Nov 07 '12 at 23:56 Catherine Schneider New member

1 answer


The phrase "power and portabilty" is the subject.  The object of a preposition, in this case "phone," can never be a subject.  


I can't concur, however, with the answer suggesting that power and portability are inseparable, and thus indicate a singular subject matched with a singular verb.  Awkward though it sounds, I hear a compound subject here: not one but two things are arriving in my phone today.  If these two features - power and portability - were combined in all telephones, we wouldn't need two words to distinguish them.  All phones have power, not all phones are portable.  Thus I would favor:


The power and portability of the new phone arrived today.


To my ear, what makes the sentence awkward is not its grammar, but the implied personification of power and portability.  I would probably rewrite this as:


The new phone arrived today, with its power and portability.

link comment answered Nov 12 '12 at 15:12 Jeffrey Pressman New member

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