Bread and butter was/were/are...

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@iam_abd

New Member
English - India
Should we use 'was','were' or 'are' in the sentence, " Bread and butter_____on the table."
 
  • AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    If the question offers was and were as the two possible answers, you should probably choose was. However, either form is possible, depending on whether the speaker is thinking of "bread and butter" as a single entity (as in "dinner is on the table") or as two ingredients ("the roast and vegetables are on the table").
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    I'd go for "were" or "are" myself because it seems to say that the individual components of bread-and-butter, namely bread and butter:), are on the table. If it referred to buttered bread, I'd expect There is/was bread and butter on the table, but maybe that's just me.

    We still need to know if this refers to the past or the present of course.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    In BE, "bread and butter" is usually treated as a compound subject, taking a singular verb.

    So of the three alternatives given there, I would only mark "was" as correct. :)
     

    @iam_abd

    New Member
    English - India
    I'd go for "were" or "are" myself because it seems to say that the individual components of bread-and-butter, namely bread and butter:), are on the table. If it referred to buttered bread, I'd expect There is/was bread and butter on the table, but maybe that's just me.

    We still need to know if this refers to the past or the present of course.
    Perhaps you might be correct if we think in that way.
     

    @iam_abd

    New Member
    English - India
    If the question offers was and were as the two possible answers, you should probably choose was. However, either form is possible, depending on whether the speaker is thinking of "bread and butter" as a single entity (as in "dinner is on the table") or as two ingredients ("the roast and vegetables are on the table").
    Yeah, even I chose your former opinion.
     
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