intensity of the wind and of the rain is/are influenced

Ariander

Member
USA
English, USA
Hello WordReference Forum,

I have a question about verbs.

I'm curious about what the appropriate verb would be for the following sentence:

"The intensity of the wind and of the rain is/are influenced by ..."

The intensity of the wind and the intensity of the rain are two different entities, but it seems redundant to write "The intensity of...and the intensity of..."
At the same time, "are" doesn't seem to match when "intensity" is written only once.
Can someone shed some light on whether I should use "are" or "is" and why?

Thanks so much!
 
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    The singular is correct here: "is." In the sentence as given, there is only one level of intensity, though it applies to two separate things.

    To express the concept that they are, as you say, "two different entities," the author would have to have written, "The intensities of the wind and of the rain." In that case, the plural subject would naturally take a plural verb.
     

    Giordano Bruno

    Senior Member
    English, England
    The subject is "intensity". If there is only one, then "is" sounds right. I could say " the size of France and Germany is..." i.e. the combined size, but "the size of France and the size of Germany are in the proportion of 2:1".

    I guess it depends upon the degree of connectedness. If you can think of the intensity in the singular, then you may use the singular. "The intensity of the wind and rain is the cause of the erosion". On the other hand, "The intensity of the wind and rain are inversely related."
     

    Giordano Bruno

    Senior Member
    English, England
    Hi Glenfarclas,

    Your version is without doubt clearer, but I am not entirely convinced that my version is erroneous. Some things certainly pluralize better than others. "The silences..." sounds odd and "The cares of a mother for her child and a cat for its kittens" doesn't work at all.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top