Two and two make<s> four.

Englishmypassion

Senior Member
India - Hindi
Dear Teachers,
Namaste!
Do you use a singular or plural verb with 'make' used to mean equals?
Examples:
Two and two make/makes four.
I know both are correct, but which one is usually used by native speakers?
I think 'equal' and 'be' are always singular, e.g. Two and two equals/is four. Am I right?
Many thanks
 
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I suspect that grammatically it should be "make" and "are", because all the numbers are plural.

    However I'm fairly certain that when I was at Junior school, I learned how to do addition by saying "makes" and "equals". :confused:
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    I suspect that grammatically it should be "make" and "are", because all the numbers are plural.

    However I'm fairly certain that when I was at Junior school, I learned how to do addition by saying "makes" and "equals". :confused:
    This way they will always be plural whether the numbers are plural or singular because they are connected by 'and' (as two singulars connected by 'and' become plural/ take a plural verb),.e.g. One and one are/make two. But the OALD says "5 and 7 make 12" and "5 and 5 makes 10"! (I don't think '7' changes 'makes' into 'make');).
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    This question has been asked earlier:

    <
    Make/makes, equal/equals, is/are: Singular or plural verb in addition >
    Two and three make five.or (makes five)

    You can search for earlier threads by entering keywords in the search box at the top of the page.



    < Current thread merged with first linked thread.
    Linkage removed. Cagey, moderator. >
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I could say both, but I would normally say singular 'makes'. This is clearer if I use the language I would actually use:

    :tick:Eleven plus seventeen is twenty-eight.
    :cross:Eleven plus seventeen are twenty-eight.

    Likewise 'is' with other operations: 11 x 17 is, 11 - 17 is.

    cross-posted
     

    sagar grammar

    Senior Member
    <-----Threads have been merged at this point by moderator (Florentia52)----->

    I have the sentence in an NCERT book.
    It says "make" is correct...

    Another book Lucent's general English has the same sentence saying that "makes" is correct...


    So What's the conclusion . EMP.??
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Cats and dogs are animals" means cats are animals and dogs are animals.

    "2 + 2 is 4" means:

    --- "the sum of 2 added to 2 is 4"
    which is the same as:
    --- "the result of adding 2 to 2 is 4"

    There are two people wearing red shirts and two wearing blue shirts. Four people are wearing shirts. The number of people wearing shirts is four.
     

    sagar grammar

    Senior Member
    So we know both "make" and "makes" are correct in the context.
    I think there is a slight difference.

    Two and two makes/is/equals four. (Mathematical expression or a result of some calculation where four is considered a number which is "4")

    Two and two make/are/equal four. ( it is something said in general when people talk about "two (things) and two (things)" and after adding they become "four (things)" and note that "four" here doesn't denote a single number but it denotes "four things" so we can't use a singular verb in this case.)

    This is just my opinion.
    Thanks.

    Never stop learning. :)
     
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