different or the same?

English grammar questions, answered by Alan

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different or the same?

Post by reach » Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:35 am

In Webster's Dictionary,"One and a half years have passed since then." and "A year and a half has passed since then." are described.
I am confused between the "one and a half years have" and "a year and a half has".
Why is different "one and a half years" and "a year and a half" in singular or plural?
I will be happy if you could explain it in detail. Thank you in advance.

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Re: different or the same?

Post by Alan » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:16 pm

Any numerator greater than one (such as 'one-and-a-half') precedes a plural noun and governs a plural verb. In the case of 'a year and a half' the noun 'year' is preceded by a singular numerator (one), and the additional 'half' is added subsequently. In such cases despite the mathematical total being the same, grammatically the noun is singular and therefore governs a singular verb.