one thousand dollars are/is

orthophron

Senior Member
Greek
Hello native English speakers and everybody. Here is my question.
"And finally, the one thousand dollars ... mine".
Am I right in thinking that "the" determines "dollars" and the blanc should be filled with "are" ?
Thanks a lot.
 
  • orthophron

    Senior Member
    Greek
    One thousand dollars is a lot of money.

    I think this particular phrase stands up if one takes into account grammar rules involving subject, predicate and "linking" verbs, but let's think of a more illustrative example :
    "one thousand dollars ... given to charity". What is missing here? Isn't the word "thousand" used as determiner here? Hasn't it an adjectival behavior?
     
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    Basil Ganglia

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    To my ear it depends on the context. If the sense is that "one thousand dollars'' is a discreet and specific quantity, it takes the singular. "One thousand dollars is the price of the item." "One thousand dollars is the reward."

    When it does not refer to a discreet or specific quantity, it can take the plural. In the example cited, either "is" or "are" could be used. If it were a prize being given out in game show, I would say "The one thousand dollars is mine." If it were a couple of people squabbling over money found on the side of the road, I would be more apt to assert "The one thousand dollars are mine." But even in the case of found money the singular would also work for me.
     

    orthophron

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Thank you all for your time and answers my friends.
    However I must say I would not understand the singular form in cases where the verb is other than the "linking" verb "to be".
    Considering my last paradigm ("one thousand dollars ... given to charity"), if "is" is the missing word, I wonder what syntactically is the word "dollars" ...
     

    deselectric

    Member
    American English
    "One thousand dollars" behaves as a collective noun. It can either refer to the sum of money (singular), or the physical collection of bills (plural).

    Usually, AE would say "is" and BE would say "are". In AE and BE, collective nouns behave differently. In AE, the collective noun is usually treated as one unit, whereas in BE, the collective noun is treated as representative of each individual part.

    It also depends on the meaning. "One thousand dollars is a large sum of money". "One thousand dollars are lying right in front of you". If you refer to the sum of money (at least, in AE), then the verb becomes "is". If you refer to each physical bill, then the verb becomes "are".

    Really, in most situations, either would work, but each implies something slightly different. Does this help?
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    "
    It also depends on the meaning. "One thousand dollars is a large sum of money". "One thousand dollars are lying right in front of you". If you refer to the sum of money (at least, in AE), then the verb becomes "is". If you refer to each physical bill, then the verb becomes "are".

    I think you have been copying us!!! Nevertheless if the $1000 lying right in front of you is made up of many different notes I would use is, not are, simply because "the amount 1000" is singular/collective & this thing of value $1000 is effectively the subject of the verb. That's how I think & speak...

    GF.. (UK-EN)
     

    orthophron

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Interesting pointers really! Thank you all.

    "One thousand dollars are lying right in front of you".
    Well, I must say I was happy to see that plural.


    "One thousand dollars is a large sum of money".
    I'm not surprised at all. I think "three thousand dollars (pl.) is (sing.) also a large sum". But "school uniforms (pl.) are (pl.) not a good idea (sing.)". Correct me please if I'm wrong – I mean grammatically.
    Such mismatch in number is inevitable - I think - and common in many languages when the verb is "to be".

    If only you could recommend me a link concerning numeral expressions for reference.
    Thanks fellows
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Purdue University's "Owl Writing Lab" has a page on Making Subjects and Verbs Agree which has an abbreviated version of the discussion above. (See their rule #7.) It won't tell you anything you don't know, but you can use it as a reference. Also, it is a nice summary of the rules for verbal agreement.
     
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