a series of - singular or plural?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by odin_revisited, May 3, 2008.

  1. odin_revisited Member

    India and Tamil
    I just want to know whether it is possible to use a singular verb with "A series of + plural noun", as in the following sentence:

    "A series of cross-sectional studies was conducted in 1998, using face-to-face interviews with structured questionnaires."

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Gordonedi

    Gordonedi Senior Member

    UK (Scotland) English
    "Series" is singular, so should always take a singluar verb.

    A series of studies was undertaken.
    A series of young ladies was seen visiting the new shop.

    Common usage in the UK tends towards using a plural verb with "a number", as in "a number of studies were undertaken".
  3. odin_revisited Member

    India and Tamil
    Thank you very much.
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In this particular example I am sure that a singular verb is correct - agreeing wholeheartedly with Gordonedi.

    Series, though, is a funny word.
    In this case it is used precisely and with singular intent.

    In other examples, series can be used much more loosely - in effect making a series of the equivalent of a number of.
    In that case, it is appropriately followed by a plural verb.
    For more explanation, see:
    Collective nouns - There <is, are> a series of elements that ...
  5. Lepus timidus

    Lepus timidus New Member

    In an expression "a series of experiments HAS/HAVE been carried out", should I use singular (HAS) or plural (HAVE)? Are there any particular cases when either of them is preferred, or is one of them just plainly wrong? Google abounds with examples of either usage, but is ~1:3 in favour of plural form.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who responds.

    Moderator's note:
    I have merged this thread with an earlier thread on the same subject.
    Please respond to this more recent question.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2010
  6. William Stein Senior Member

    San Jose, Costa Rica
    American English
    This is probably more a matter of taste or feel than a hard-and-fast rule, but do you think the verb should be in the singular and plural here?:
    A series of numbers known as Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) is/are embossed on the Card.

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