How much time and money is/are needed?

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Englishmypassion

Senior Member
India - Hindi
Hello Everybody,
Would you use a singular verb or a plural verb in the following sentence?

How much time and money is/are needed for that?

I would definitely use the singular verb, is (here they are both uncountable nouns too). Don't you agree with me?


Thanks.
 
  • Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    I would use "are", since the question asks for two bits of information. The answer will have two parts, expressed in different units.
    For example, for some sort of public work: It will take three months, and will cost one million dollars.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I would use "are", since the question asks for two bits of information. The answer will have two parts, expressed in different units.
    For example, for some sort of public work: It will take three months, and will cost one million dollars.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    My feeling as well, despite time and money often being used together.:)
     

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    I'd use is...probably because of how much [....] is, but I can see why some grammarians might argue that you have a collection of singulars which when combined with and forms a plural.

    Bic.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I'd say:
    How much time and money will be needed for that?
    or:
    How much time and money will we need for that?
    or:
    How much time and money is that going to need?
    or something else that feels more natural than your question, EMP:cool:

    But if I had to keep the original sentence and choose one or the other, I'd go for are. My brain's interpreting it as How much time and [how much] money ... ? i.e. two separate things.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I'd say:
    How much time and money will we need for that?
    What a cop-out!
    But so would I.

    But I think I'd go for is, because the question is essentially about the total amount of resource that will be necessary for whatever the project is.
    I would view the total resource as singular even though it can be divided into individual sub-resources.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    To me, it's/(there are) two things, 'how much time' and 'how much money'. It's/(they are) just the same as two 'countable' items: 'how many sandwiches' and 'how many cakes are needed'.
    When there are two subjects, the verb has to be plural, 'are'.
    Who would say 'men and women is having identity problems these days'?
    Would we say 'The husband and wife is unhappy'?

    Using a singular verb sounds completely wrong to me, and so far I've read nothing to convince me otherwise.
     

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Who would say 'men and women is having identity problems these days'?
    In this particular example each noun is already plural, so I don't think anyone would consider using a singular verb here.
    Would we say 'The husband and wife is unhappy'?
    Here, it would seem fairly straightforward that the context is the husband and wife (together) i.e. they are unhappy together.

    The example in the OP is different, at least to me.

    Bic.
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Thanks, everybody.
    I still find "is" much more natural. Even when I stop thinking about grammar and logic and just say the sentence out loud, only "is" sounds natural to me.

    By the way, I just searched for it on Google Ngram and found this: Google Ngram Viewer


    More responses are most welcome.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I'm a bit of a fence sitter, I'm afraid. I'd go for are normally, but don't find is unnatural, for the reason given by Edinburgher (post 7).
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    My brain's interpreting it as How much time and [how much] money ... ? i.e. two separate things.
    To me, it's/(there are) two things, 'how much time' and 'how much money'. It's/(they are) just the same as two 'countable' items: 'how many sandwiches' and 'how many cakes are needed'.
    When there are two subjects, the verb has to be plural, 'are'.
    I agree -- the plural verb is required here.

    I certainly wouldn't mark is as 'wrong', EMP:)
    I would.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Sorry, EMP, I find your latest sentence entirely unnatural:

    How much sugar and salt | will we need / are we going to need | for the party / to make tea and soup for ten people?

    For every 9,999 times I say or write need, I say or write require exactly once.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Thanks a lot.
    However, I could have as well asked about the things left in the kitchen. :)
    Which was my point – it can still be read as an inventory request: "We've got two pounds of sugar and about a teaspoon of salt, so you'd better pick up salt at the grocery."

    But, like Edinburgher, I wouldn't blink at "is." There's every chance that in the context that I would be a part of, I wouldn't pay any attention at all to the verb you used, because I'd be focused on the sugar and salt.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    How much time and money is/are needed for that?
    How much sugar and salt is/are left in the store?


    My first choice, if I don't think about it, is are for both, but if I look again, I think "is of course". The choice depends on what the speaker is thinking, as can be seen from most of the answers so far.

    Must "how much" automatically "distribute" over both elements of the compound? I don't think so. For example, something about "how much beans" or "how much onions" does not sound right, but I find "how much rice and beans" and "how much liver and onions" perfectly acceptable.

    "Three ounces each of sugar and salt" is six ounces total, but how much is three ounces of sugar and salt? Is it three ounces each, or three ounces total?

    For me, it's three ounces total.

    Consider "There are three apples and oranges on the table." Is that three of each, or three fruits all together?

    My first guess is three all together, but then there would only be one of one of them, so I am not so sure.

    Is time money? It is to some people.

    These examples bring up other issues.

    Could "how much" be the subject? (Is it possible we are wondering how much money has the same value as two rulers, for example?)

    Are "this one" and "this one" together meant as a single purchase? Are we looking at a sealed package containing two rulers?
     
    Last edited:

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    How much time and money is/are needed for that?
    How much sugar and salt is/are left in the store?


    My first choice, if I don't think about it, is are for both, but if I look again, I think "is of course". The choice depends on what the speaker is thinking, as can be seen from most of the answers so far.

    Thanks a lot, Forero. Deeply appreciated.

    So you and I reach the same conclusion, though our ways seem to be opposite!
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    My first choice, if I don't think about it, is are for both, but if I look again, I think "is of course".
    I was talking about this, velisarius.

    And as for the verb choice depending on the speaker's perspective, I was/am mentally prepared to take "are" as well, which is supported by so many members above-- I didn't realise I had not said that explicitly. I don't consider "are" wrong. Sorry I should have been clearer there.
    Thank you.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Did you take a look at the Ngram results linked to in post #15? ;):)
    It occurs to me that the Ngrams may be picking up instances of "much time and money are" that are not relevant to the particular structure we are talking about, which is direct questions beginning with "How much x and y is/are".

    And I suspect these extra instances have skewed your Ngram toward "are".

    I know you can include "how" in your query, but is it possible to specify that the phrase must be in the main clause of a direct question (as opposed to a relative clause or indirect interrogative)?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    How much time and money are wasted/squandered in...?

    I think it's a little more likely to find the plural verb when the writer is feeling outraged. Both time and money are being wasted. Shocking!

    Google Ngram Viewer
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Forero, Ngram is also picking sentences like "how much time and money is he...?" As I couldn't include more than five words in the key phrase, I began with "much", omitting "how". Thanks a lot, anyway.

    Thanks a lot, Velisarius.
     
    Last edited:

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Before I forget what prompted me to think the Ngrams may be skewed, I'll post it. :)

    "Lots of time and money" is plural, but "a lot of time and money" is singular. Both are interpretations of "much time and money". Similarly, "how much" can be interpreted as either "what amount/quantity of" or "what number of units of".

    In addition "how much" also has adverbial meanings, including "how often" and "to what extent". In a direct question, an adverbial meaning of "how much" forces a different word order, but not in a relative clause or indirect question:

    Our question: "How much time and money is needed for that?" ["how much" part of the subject] -> "I wonder how much time and money is needed for that."
    Spurious question: "How much are time and money needed for that?" ["how much" modifying the predicate] -> "I wonder how much time and money are needed for that."
     
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