keeps or keep?

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Sililat

Senior Member
English - Canadian
Hi,

This is a slogan for a publication on computer workstation ergonomics:

"Fewer clicks a day keeps tendonitis away!"

(i.e. avoid clicking the mouse, avoid tendonitis; modeled on the popular "An apple a day keeps the doctor away")

... But I'm wondering if it's KEEPS or KEEP. Do I conjugate the verb with the plural "fewer clicks", or can "fewer clicks a day" be considered a single unit??

Thanks for your input!
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    This is akin to plural measure words: 'Five kilometres is a long way to walk', etc. The parallel with the apple slogan reinforces it.
     

    frostypotter

    Member
    NYC
    English
    It would seem that "fewer clicks a day" is functioning as a singular unit so the sentence would take "keeps" instead of "keep." I'm sure there is a less ambiguous way of saying this that eliminates the verb tense confusion.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    As a side note, the word is tendinitis, commonly misspelled tendonitis, which, appallingly, the WRD accepts as an alternate spelling.

    From Garner's Modern American Usage:
    "Tendonitis is incorrectly arrived at by association with the spelling of the noun tendon.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I view "keeps" as the correct form.

    "Fewer clicks a day" is a concise way of saying "the method of clicking fewer times during the day". It is not the clicks that keep tendinitis away (quite the opposite) rather it's the method of clicking fewer times during the day that keeps tendinitis away.
     
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