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Sitting or lying down to.... all require/requires

Discussion in 'English Only' started by allie95, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. allie95 New Member

    English
    Here's the full sentence:

    Sitting or lying down to watch TV, read a book, type on a computer, or talk on the phone all requires about the same low level of energy expenditure.

    Should the verb be "require" or "requires"?? The subject seems to be two singular nouns joined by "or" so I thought the verb should be singular, but the "all" is throwing me off.


    Any ideas to rearrange to eliminate the awkwardness? I thought about changing it to "Activities such as sitting..." but the author is trying to make the point that these are periods of inactivity.
     
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    I like "require" in your sentence, allie95. I view "sitting or lying down to..." as two different possibilities. Like you, I think the word "all" affects the verb. I sure wouldn't use "requires" after "all".
     
  3. Thelb4 Senior Member

    UK English
    Consider the sentence as "Sitting or lying down to watch TV, [sitting or lying down to] read a book, [sitting or lying down to] type on a computer, or [sitting or lying down to] talk on the phone all require ..." These omissions make this a list of multiple items, which is reinforced by the word "all".
     
  4. allie95 New Member

    English
    Thelb4, showing that omitted text definitely makes it more clear. However, even though it is a list of multiple items, it's still a list of singular items joined by "or." So doesn't that mean the verb should be singular (rule says verb should agree with closest subject)?
     
  5. allie95 New Member

    English
    or maybe it's an understood appositive?

    Sittting or lying down to watch TV, read a book, type on a computer, or talk on the phone, all require about the same low level of energy expenditure.
     

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