verb agreement-multiply or multiplies

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Shimmer Dancer

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi all, which form of the verb should I use in the following sentence? The singular form of the plural?

If there is one kind or several kinds of pest that multiplies/multiply in large numbers, farmers will suffer a great loss.
 
  • Shimmer Dancer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you for your reply. As for "are", what I learned from my grammar book is that if "there" in the beginning of a sentence is followed by both singular and plural objects, the verb "be" should agree with the closest object. This rule is called proximity rule. Wondering if this rule is practical in English speaking countries?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    The usage note for this in the entry for "there" in our own dictionary states (#7):

    When a compound subject contains both singular and plural words, the verb usually agrees with the subject closest to the verb, although a plural verb sometimes occurs regardless, especially if the compound has more than two elements.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    No, I agree with Keith (post #2). You need "are" because you've effectively got a compound made up of a singular (one kind) plus a plural (several kinds), so the compound as a whole is plural.
     
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