Drying pants and socks and then drying them (take / takes) a great deal of time.

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
Hello everyone

1. Drying pants and socks and then drying them (take / takes) a great deal of time.

2. Drying pants and socks (takes / take) a great deal of time.

I'm not sure If there are two actions in a sentence, I should see it as third person singular or plural.
I think I should use "takes" in both sentences.Can you confirm it for me, please? or correct if i'm wrong. Thank you.
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree with you that 'takes' should be used in both sentences. It is certainly the only option in #2 where the the subject is the singular verbal noun 'drying'; pants and socks are the object complement part of a subject phrase.

    I think you mean 'washing' in sentence #1. Both 'washing' and 'drying' are indeed two actions but the one that determines the verb form is 'drying'.
    My explanation of that is that we have left out takes a long time when we talk about the washing which happens before the drying. We don't need to repeat it.

    We don't say "Washing socks and pants [takes a long time] and then drying them takes a long time".


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    You're really talking about the single long process (made up of several parts), washing and drying socks. It might not be true that washing socks takes a long time, or that drying socks takes a long time, but only when you put them together does the process became long. This combined process is what you're saying is long. Compare: 100 g is a lot of sugar for a cake. It's not true that each one gram is a lot, only that the combined amount is.
    < Previous | Next >