the amiability; the tinge, was<or were> impossible?


Senior Member
Hi, dear friends
Here are some words from the novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover(para. 10):
"This stubborn, instinctive "We think ourselves as good as you, if you are Lady Chatterley!" puzzled and baffled Connie at first extremely. The curious, suspicious, false amiability with which the miners' wives met her overtures; the curiously offensive tinge of "Oh dear me!I am somebody now, with Lady Chatterley talking to me! But she needn't think I'm not as good as her for all that!", which she always heard twanging in the women's half-fawning voices, was impossible."

Please notice the sentence with red words. I rephrase the sentence, and we get a shorter one: "the amiability; the tinge, was impossible". Now we can see that the subject of "was" is "the amiability" and "the tinge", so I think the proper word should be "were" rather than "was". But why did Lawrence use "was" instead of "were"? Was it a typo?

Thank you in advance.
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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    It's hard to keep track of things in long-winded language like this. Maybe Lawrence forgot that he needed "were" instead of "was" at the end of all that jabber.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    There seem to be two things (the amilability and the tinge) there, but "were" sounds odd to me. Lawrence is obviously considering all that goes before as a "something" that she always heard twanging in their voices, not as two separate things that twanged.

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think you've got two singular subjects in apposition to each other; I reckon that makes a singular subject for the verb.

    I'd say the sea and the sky make (plural) a wonderful combination.

    But the sea, the salt water, boils and surges (singular).

    I don't think Lawrence has forgotten anything.

    We're not helped by not being given the punctuation accurately, I fear.

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree that 'impossible' could mean 'intolerable' or 'unbearable', but to me the more important meaning is 'unmanageable'. The last means that nothing can be done about the situation, or the person/the people. "It" (whatever 'it' is) has to be accepted.
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