A and B is/are my goal

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hongover

Member
Chinese-China
Suppose that I want to be a scientist and explore the nature of the universe. So, I may say:

(a) Becoming a scientist and exploring the nature of the universe is my career goal.

(b) Becoming a scientist and exploring the nature of the universe are my career goals.

Which one is correct?

Grammatically, (b) seems better, since the subject includes two items. But those two items are actually "the same thing" and they are two parts of a unified goal. So, from a semantic point view, it seems that (a) is more accurate. Help me out, friends.
 
  • Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    You've identified the issue correctly: is becoming a scientist and exploring the nature of the universe and single goal or two goals? Either form would be correct depending on your meaning. If you think that exploring the nature of the universe is definitely a part of becoming a scientist - that is to say, if you think it's impossible to explore the nature of the universe unless you become a scientist - you should use the singular form of the verb. If you could become a scientist, or explore the nature of the universe separately from each other, use the plural.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    You could rearrange the sentence as "My goal is to become a scientist and explore the nature of the universe." Then it is clear that these are both parts of one goal. (Many scientists do not explore the nature of the universe, of course. They might explore the nature of cancer cells, of how fish reproduce, or of many other things.)
     
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