Two hours of outdoor exercise is/are good for your recovery.

jiamajia

Senior Member
Mandarin
Two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery.
Two hours of outdoor exercise daily are good for your recovery.

---------------------------------------------------------

Are 'is' or 'are' both correct there? Thank you.
 
  • jiamajia

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    I tend to say 'two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery'.
    But when some native speakers say 'twenty four hours make a day and night', I am still confused.
     

    Zamda

    New Member
    English
    "Is" - singular (one hour of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery)
    "Are" - plural (two hours of outdoor exercise daily are good for your recovery)

    You could imagine "make" like "build" or "create". There are 24 hours in one full day, therefore to create a full day you need 24 hours - so "24 hours make a day and night."
     

    madword

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    when we say 'twenty four hours make a day and night' ,what in our mind is that it's the many hours(1+1+1.....) that constitute a day and night. Right?
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Two hours (worth) of exercise is good for...I think the 'worth' is understood, and implies a third person singular agreement.


    It is considered as a period of time which sums to a unitary two hour block, even if you were to take said exercise at sporadic intervals throughout the day.


    Although, "there ARE 24 hours in one full day", 24 hours IS one full day.

    Alternatively, 24 hours of exercise per week, IS the same as one day of exercise per week.


    That is what I think.
     

    Amirali888

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Hello everyone

    This one was my question too. However, I have not got the answer yet. Based on what Zamda says the correct sentence would be "two hours of outdoor exercise daily are good for your recovery", where as based on the deleted replies and Beryl from Northallerton the correct sentence is "two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery".

    As a person following this topic, I have not understood which one is correct yet!

    My answers are:

    1)A two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery

    2)two hours of outdoor exercise daily are good for your recovery

    Thanks
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    From a BE point of view, I don't find either of the suggestions 'idiomatic'. |By idiomatic, I mean what a BE speaker would say. My response is that an educated BE native speaker ( meaning me and my pals) would say "Two hours exercise would be good for you ( meaning, good for your recovery)", or " ... would help your recovery.", or, even more likely " Would help you to recover", avoiding the noun 'recovery'. The emphasis here is on the use of 'would'.


    It is very likely in my opinion that a native speaker would add an adverb, such as 'quicker' or 'faster'.
    "Would help you to recover faster/ quicker/more quickly"
     
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    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Well amirali, with specific regard to the question that you have posed...you know what I think the answer is, maybe I might be allowed to try and guide over to my position, by way of a question to you: What is (in the example you have given) actually good for your recovery? Is it 1. the hours or 2. the exercise ?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery.
    Two hours of outdoor exercise daily are good for your recovery.
    ...
    I would definitely use the second - where the verb agrees in number with "hours".
    A singular verb following the plural subject sounds wrong.

    Change the sentence very, very slightly and I change my mind.
    ...
    "Two hours' exercise daily is good for your recovery."
    All I did was remove "of" and include an apostrophe. That makes the subject singular.
    Without that change, the subject is plural, hours.
     

    Amirali888

    Senior Member
    Persian
    JFY, this question wasn't posted by me; but after posting this question I became interested in knowing the correct answer too

    By the question you asked me, I can understand what you mean; 2. The exercise is right. Is it right if we say that "two hours" is like an adjective for "exercise"? and the essence of exercise is good for you, and since exercise is an uncountable noun we use "IS".

    Am I right? :)

    But if we want to use "two hours" as an adjective we are supposed to say "Two hours' exercise daily is good for your recovery." (exactly what Panjandrum said :)) or "A two hour exercise is good for your recovery"

    Am I right?
     
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    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Although I fully understand what Panj is saying and also appreciate why he's saying it, we are simply in disagreement.


    Different people speak and write differently; having said that, if Panj were to inform me that "two hours of exercise are good for me" (say), I wouldn't simply return him a blank stare of incomprehension. Most likely, the only time that attention is paid to such minutiae, would be in a court of law e.g.. the insurance pay out on the twin towers - was it one terrorist attack or two? Significant amounts of money riding on that bit of grammar.


    Personally, whatever the specific grammatical nicety that may apply here, I think your idea that "two hours (of)" is some form adjectival qualifier of "exercise", is sound.



    I would say/write all the following:


    Two hours worth of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery.
    Two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery.
    Two hours' outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery.

    and maybe even

    "A two hour exercise daily is good for your recovery" - this is however, a little different.

    @ Panj

    just curious, would you say...


    'Two hours of outdoor exercise daily ARE good, but fifteen hours ARE bad.' ?
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I prefer the version with 'is'. I feel the version with 'are' needs the definite article. They would have different implications:

    Two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery. Two hours is a total, e.g. 30 min + 30 min + 15 min + 45 min.

    The two hours of outdoor exercise daily are good for your recovery. The outdoor exercise is done at two occasions, each lasting one hour.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    This is a "measure expression" that nearly every grammar of English will explicitly tell you normally requires the singular, it's one of the most well-known exceptions to "number-agreement" in English. For some reason natives seem to look at these questions and apply what they think is a rule rather than judging it by what people actually say or what sounds natural.

    I'd be surprised to find out that there are people that would only accept "30 miles are a long way to dive for milk" and reject "30 miles is a long way to drive for milk".
    That person is either not a native or is trying to stick to a rule that's never been applied to English by looking at how other examples (i.e. not relevant to the specific case at hand, which is known as an exception) work in the language (and I'm under the impression many people do this on WR).

    I can understand how people might use the plural in some of the 'grey' areas, that's fine.
    But anyone who insists on only the plural in measure expressions needs to be ignored.

    A: How much sugar do we need to buy?
    B: 30kg.
    A: Do we really need 30kg of sugar? Aren't 30kg:cross: too much? (Isn't 30kg:tick: too much?)

    Come on; who'd ever say that?

    More info:
    Expressions of Quantity: Special Cases of Subject-Verb Agreement
    Special Cases in Subject-Verb Agreement.
    Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement.
    Subject-Verb Agreement.

    Then the use of singular is supported by Webster's New World English Grammar Handbook (here, p.64), here (p.130) (and I could go on but I think 15 mins are:cross: is:tick: enough time to spend on one post).
     
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    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    A: How much sugar do we need to buy?
    B: 30kg.
    A: Do we really need 30kg of sugar? Aren't 30kg
    too much? (Isn't 30kg
    too much?)
    A: How many kilos do we need to buy?
    B: Thirty.
    A: Do we really need 30? Aren't 30 too many?
    (Isn't 30 too much?
    )

    It is all a question of which unspoken question you are answering:
    "Two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery." answers, "how much exercise is...?"
    "Two hours of outdoor exercise daily are good for your recovery." answers, "how many hours are...?"

    As the question is unspoken, the responder can reply as they like.
     
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    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The answers "is" and "are" are correct depending upon which unspoken question you have answered.
    If you put it in the form where it has to be answered by a question (in which case my instant guess would be it was 'How much exercise?') but it's not really a case on depending on what unspoken question you're answering as it doesn't have to come after that sort of question at all to be used validly, and I think it's quite common for it to just be use in a sense of commenting on what someone else has said.

    1) It can come after another type of question:
    .
    A: I need to start doing some exercise to recover, what do you think I should do?
    B: Two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery.


    2) It can come after a comment related to the topic:
    .
    A: I really need to get recover by doing some exercise.
    B: Two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery.



    So, yeah while in response to the question "How many hours of exercise...?" even I would still naturally use the singular form, but I suppose I can understand the plural form being used in that sense, but in the whole spectrum of these type of responses, it's not really a case of them occurring in relation to the much/many division that has been directly asked to the person who says the comment.

    Does this sound like it would be poor English to you if you heard it? :

    A: How many hours of exercise do you think I need to do to recover?
    B: Erm, I think 2 hours of exercise is a good amount.

    Because it sounds absolutely fine/natural/idiomatic to me, but I have been told I have a poor command of the English language by some other members of this forum (to each his own I guess :eek:).
     
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    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    A: How many kilos do we need to buy?
    B: Thirty.
    A: Do we really need 30? Aren't 30 too many?
    (Isn't 30 too much?
    )

    It is all a question of which unspoken question you are answering:
    "Two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery." answers, "how much exercise is...?"
    "Two hours of outdoor exercise daily are good for your recovery." answers, "how many hours are...?"
     
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    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    A: How many kilos do we need to buy?
    B: Thirty.
    A: Do we really need 30? Aren't 30 too many?:tick: (Isn't 30 too much?:cross:)

    It is all a question of which unspoken question you are answering:
    "Two hours of outdoor exercise daily is good for your recovery." answers, "how much exercise is...?"
    "Two hours of outdoor exercise daily are good for your recovery." answers, "how many hours are...?"
    You marked "Isn't 30 too much?" as being incorrect ??? :eek:
    I have the feeling you're applying a grammatical rule here that is overriding what (I expect) your mind knows is normal.
    I would never (ever) say "Aren't 30..." in an example like that. It jars actually :eek:

    Maybe I'm just wired differently.
    Interested to know the opinion of others.
     
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    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    You marked "Isn't 30 too much?" as being incorrect ??? :eek:
    I have the feeling you're applying a grammatical rule here that is overriding what (I expect) your mind knows is normal.
    I would never (ever) say "Aren't 30..." in an example like that. It jars actually :eek:

    Maybe I'm just wired differently.
    Interested to know the opinion of others.
    The emphasis is on the way of responding to "How much?" to which the response is "This much is" and How many?" to which the answer is "This many are."
    "How much exercise is enough?"
    "How many hours of exercise are enough?"

    A ":cross:" may be severe but it is to make the point. :p
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The emphasis is on the way of responding to "How much?" to which the response is "This much is" and How many?" to which the answer is "This many are."
    "How much exercise is enough?"
    "How many hours of exercise are enough?"
    But measure exceptions are not subject to these same sorts of rules, as has been pointed out lots of times in dealings with subject-verb agreement.
    I know very well the rule you're talking about, but this is dealing with an exception. In any other case I'd agree with you.

    How much water is there in the tank?
    There is a lot of water in the tank.:tick:

    How many coins are there in the box?
    There are many coins in the box.:tick:
    That's where the rule applies and works fine.
    But in measure expressions it's a whole new kettle of fish:

    How many hours do you usually drive to get there?
    It takes:tick:(they take?:cross:) 10 hours.
    Yeah there are times when you have measurements like "How many centimetres are there in a metre?" you wouldn't say "It is 100cm", but the idea of plural numbers being referred back with singular verbs/pronouns is really well-known in English grammar. I do get your point, but I just wanted to say it's not 100% watertight.
     
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    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I'm reaching the limits of my brain here and I'll admit it is unreliable at the ragged edges. Your examples are with the verb "be" and verb "take", I feel that the probable solution lies in the complement v. object argument.

    How many hours are taken to get there?
    "10 hours are taken"

    (A little artificial, I admit..)
     
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    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    (For a less severe :cross: I recommend you use :thumbsdown:)

    but "thirty" could be taken for "thirty kilos" (perhaps "eggs" would work better as an example?) It is to make the point of state of the verb in the answers to "How much/many?"
    And that is crossing directly from measure expressions to normal nominal phrases, so it's not really "making the point clearer", it's going back to where the exception no longer applies. It can't be used to back up the other point by changing the type of expression. It's exactly that sort of linking across boundaries that makes me think people (and in this case also you) might be taking a rule they know well and over-applying it to an area that usually has different grammatical tendencies (dare I say, 'rules').

    What is your opinion of the following example:

    Man A: How many hours does it take to drive to Cairns?
    Man B: 10 hours of driving is what it usually takes me (i.e. from Hobart)

    Now... that's the other realm of the exception (c.f. links I posted earlier), when the PP governs agreement of the adjacent verb, not the head of the NP which is the true subject.
    But even taking that away:

    Man B: 10 hours is what it usually takes me (i.e. from Hobart)

    Do you argue for:

    Man B: 10 hours (of driving) are what it usually takes me (i.e. from Hobart)
    ??? (Remember the question is 'How many hours....?')
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    To get back to the exercise, I suggest that the answer depends on your perception of "hours of exercise".
    In my earlier post, in the sentence using "two hours of exercise" I perceive the two hours as being separate, discrete hours. Hence my use of the plural verb.
    In the alternative sentence, using "two hours' exercise", I perceive the two hours as one period lasting for two hours. Hence my use of the singular verb.
     

    Man_from_India

    Senior Member
    Indian English
    I will go for "is". I see it this way. The deciding factor is the exercise, that consists of two hours. Exercise as being an uncountable noun is followed by "is".
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    When the expression is the subject of verbs other than to be then, it seems to me, the normal rules of subject/verb agreement can easily re-establish themselves:

    Five years have passed:tick: when one wishes to consider this a long time.
    Five years has passed:tick: when one wishes to get quickly back to the present.

    30 kilos of sugar pour onto the floor:tick: viewed as a succession, one after the other.
    30 kilos of sugar pours onto the floor:tick: viewed as a unit of weight.
     
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