A large number of genes...are the most likely scenario

allie95

New Member
English
Should a sentence that starts with "a large number" have a plural verb even with a singular predicate noun? An editor changed my "is" to "are"... Here's the complete sentence:

A large number of genes with small effect sizes are the most likely scenario to account for the genetic component of obesity.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It can go either way, but I think 'is' is better, to go with 'scenario': the scenario can be any kind of complex thing, complex mixture of singulars and plurals, but what the sentence wants to say is that this (whatever it is) is the most likely scenario. Likewise if the complement was headed by some word like 'problem', 'answer', 'solution', etc.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It can go either way, but I think 'is' is better, to go with 'scenario': the scenario can be any kind of complex thing, complex mixture of singulars and plurals, but what the sentence wants to say is that this (whatever it is) is the most likely scenario. Likewise if the complement was headed by some word like 'problem', 'answer', 'solution', etc.
    Is whether to use a singular or plural verb with "number of [plural noun]" a topic of recurring debate over there as it is over here?

    I do agree with you that in this case, "is" is preferable.
     
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