Basic earnings per share was/were

terrylng

Member
Chinese-Cantonese
Hello everybody,

I am just wondering if the construction "The basic earnings per share were USD0.50" or the counterpart with the use of "was" as the main verb would be preferred by a native English speaker. It seems that both the singular and plural forms are commonly encountered in a financial context, while in my opinion "earnings" is basically a plural noun that should be coupled with a plural verb form.

I look forward to your ideas and opinions.

Thanks,
Terry
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Very good point... I may have to backtrack... "earnings per share was" is sounding the better of the two options now. :) Thanks for that.
     

    terrylng

    Member
    Chinese-Cantonese
    Thanks a lot for your ideas, Copyright and bibliolept.

    But I would like to ask if bibliolept was only referring to the acronym EPS (as it would not surprise me at all that 'EPS' would always be treated as singular like virtually all other acronyms). Would bibliolept still use 'was' in the construction if the term 'earnings per share' had to be written out in full?

    Terry
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't know about bibliolept, but I wrote the entire phrase out to give it my stamp of approval for a singular verb, i.e. "earnings per share was down..." (reversing my initial opinion). Having said that, if I saw a plural verb, I wouldn't worry about it. It seems to be one of those terms you can't go wrong on.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top