When to use "are or is" and "have or has."

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When to use "are or is" and "have or has."

Post by NewWater » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:05 am

Hi, I'm trying to understand when to use "are or is" and "have or has."

I've been reading grammar books to improve my writing issues.

On MS Word I typed these 2 sentences:

1) Scoring and dribbling is important.

2) Scoring, dribbling, and assisting is important.

The first sentence was error free. But MS Word is telling me I should use are instead of is with the second sentence. Is there a rule that if you use 3 verbs you have to use are instead of is?

Also can someone supply a tip or suggest a source that would help me with these specific writing issues?

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Re: When to use "are or is" and "have or has."

Post by Joe » Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:25 am

It all depends on how you subjectively "view" the subjects. If you view them as a single item, you can use "is" (singular).

Bread and butter is my favourite food.

If you view them as separate items, you use "are" (plural):

Bread and rice are not expensive.

For your examples I don't think MS Word is intelligent enough to know what you are thinking. And nor am I. I'm guessing you're talking about football, though I'm not sure. And while I suppose that scoring and dribbling are important activities in football, I'm not sure that they go together. So I would probably prefer:

Scoring and dribbling are important.

Same for #2:

Scoring, dribbling, and assisting are important.

Trying to find a sports example that might be considered singular - because you view it as "one" - I come up with:

Warm up and stretching is important.
"We are not wholly bad or good, who live our lives under Milk Wood"
prayer of the Reverend Eli Jenkins in Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas

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