A combination of plants is/are arranged.


India - Bengali & English

I would like to know which one of the following words: is or are would complete the sentence:

A combination of plants arranged.

In this case I think 'combination' is the subject so the answer would be 'is', but most of my peers say that using 'are' is more pleasant to the ears.

What would be the correct answer?

Thanks and have a great day!
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    "Is the combination arranged or are the plants arranged?" is the question. But to know which, we would need a full sentence that gave some context.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I would use a plural verb. It's the plants that are arranged, not the combination.

    A combination of plants is more attractive than many plants of one species.


    Senior Member
    British English
    Whereas I would use "is" because "combination of plants" is the singular subject of the sentence.


    Senior Member
    The complete sentence is "A combination of plants ___ arranged in a terrarium."
    My bad.. :oops:
    In a lot of constructions involved "to be," syntax is neutral as to which form is used. You can use syntactic agreement (A combination of plants is) or semantic agreement, which focuses on the plurality of "plants" (A combination of plants are). In most cases, the choice is made by someone in charge (such as an editor) or by a usage guide (if one is used). Otherwise, it's a style choice, which can be based on just about any factor (such as "what sounds pleasant"), and it looks like your are in the minority ...
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