The first thing I've checked is/are the messages.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by 99999999, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. 99999999 New Member

    <The first thing I've checked is/are the messages.>


    What is the correct way to write the sentence in the title?
    "The first thing I've checked is/are the messages."
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2013
  2. Liam Lew's Senior Member

    Hi 99999999, I think "are" is correct because it refers to a plural subject "messages". I'm really sure about that but please wait for a native speaker's opinion.
  3. Jim2996 Senior Member

    Boston, MA
    American English
    I've seen this question about things just a little while ago, here The only thing that she can trust is/are her dogs.

    Do do really mean to say the first thing is/are things? Messages are things, not a thing.

    Why not: The first thing I did was to check my messages.
    Or: First I checked my messages.

    In "The thing is messages." I call messages the predicate complement. There are other names, but it's not the subject.

    Some people think thing and similar singular words can be used as a plural. I admit that they can and often are, but not that this is standard, proper English.

    I hope this helps.
  4. 99999999 New Member

    That's excellent, thank you!
  5. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    The subject of the verb is "thing" ... not "messages."
  6. Liam Lew's Senior Member

    Thank you for your correction, I've postet too fast of course "messages" is not the subject in the concerning sentence.
  7. EdisonBhola Senior Member

    So "is" is correct here? Even though there are messages? :S
  8. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Senior Member

    English - US
  9. Torontonian94 Junior Member

    English - Canadian
    I'm not sure if I'm breaking any rules by replying to a thread over a year old, but would it be possible to say this?

    "The first thing I've checked was the messages."

    It doesn't sound correct to me, but I just want to make sure.
  10. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi Torontonian

    I'm sure you're not breaking any rules:).

    That said, I'm sure I wouldn't say:
    "The first thing I've checked was the messages."
    and I'm sure I would say:
    "The first thing I checked was the messages."

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