For the pure/mere sake of it

Which one is better?
I am supposed to use it in a sentence which goes like this (the text is on Protestant work ethic):

Protestant ethic did not forbid accumulaion. However, what it did prohibit was/were (???) envy, irrational use of wealth and accumulation of goods for the pure/mere sake of it.
 
  • mrr5052

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi, I don't have any training in grammar but I am a native speaker.

    You use was. Sorry, I don't know why. I think it is because Protestant ethic is singular.

    In this sentence you would say mere because it would mean they accumulated goods for no particular reason. It makes them seem greedy.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    [...]

    Protestant ethic did not forbid accumulaion. However, what it did prohibit was/were (???) envy, irrational use of wealth and accumulation of goods for the pure/mere sake of it.
    The protestant ethic did not forbid accumulation. However, it did forbid envy, irrational use of wealth and the accumulation of goods for their own sake.
     
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