Taking .., watching .., gardening, reading .., all 'begin' [why plural verb?]

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member

1a. Taking walks, watching a sunset, gardening, reading a book, all begin to feel special. (Korean university entrance exam)

As far as I know, 'all' can be both the singular and the plural, and when several gerunds is used as the subjective, they are considered as the plural.
If so, in that sentence, why 'begin' is used? in other words, is it because of 'all' or 'several gerunds'?

Thank you always~.
Last edited:
  • Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    It's nothing to do with the fact that they are gerunds, jullianus. You have four noun phrases (which just happen to be gerunds), which are the subject of the sentence, so the verb has to be plural - (they all) "begin". "They" could be added, or it could be omitted.
    If there was only subject (Reading a book begins to feel special), the verb would be singular - (it) "begins". :)

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Here's an alternative view. It's arguable, I suppose that 'all' is short for 'all of which', under which supposition we may consider that 'all' is indeed the decisive factor in the pluralization of the verb 'begin'.
    By way of contrast, consider 'Taking walks, watching a sunset, gardening, reading a book, one of which beiginS to feel special.'.
    < Previous | Next >