1900 km of coast line was....

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sun's smile, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. sun's smile New Member

    Arabic ,English and French
    Hello,

    I've read that the measurable stuff as Km;Kg and so on do not take an s as a plural mark.

    so what about this sentence:

    1900 km of coast line was / were affected by spoiled water.

    Is it was or were?

    Thanks a bunch.
     
  2. Cypherpunk Senior Member

    Springdale, AR
    US, English
    If you were to write out kilometers (kilometres), you would include the s, and when you say the quantity, you would say the s, but you do not normally add an s to abbreviations like these. So, you will have a plural quantity (these are count nouns), because you would count each kilometer or kilogram as an individual thing.
    You would say 1900 km of coastline were affected.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  3. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    This sort of question comes up often, but I've just tried to look for past threads about it . . . do I look for "is are"? "kilometres"? So I'm risking answering it again.

    Measurements do take plural -s: '1900 km' is read "nineteen hundred kilometres". But mostly they take singular verbs:

    1900 km of coast was affected by the flood.
    1900 kg is a lot to lift.
    19 hours is too long to wait.
     
  4. Cypherpunk Senior Member

    Springdale, AR
    US, English
    Hmm. I'm reading eb's version, and I agree that 1900 kg is a lot to lift, and 19 hours is too long to wait.
    However, I see 1900 kilometers as the subject of the sentence, and of coast/coastline as a prepositional phrase. So, for me, 1900 km were affected. However, if we changed the subject, it might be An undetermined amount of the coastline was affected.
     

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