The subject is the 'what'-clause.
... there are very clear rules in English (which Scholiast has spoken of) that define the "correct" choice here.
I agree. This particular "rule" requires perfect knowledge of the end of the sentence before you start speaking so it seems to have been invented based on the opinion of editors of the written language rather than natural speakers. It's rather like Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition sketch ("Our three weapons are fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our four...no... ").And where do you derive these rules from? In English, so-called "grammar rules" are generalisations copied from good usage, not from some source which so far nobody has quoted.
(Keith Bradford's #12)"What I like are fish and chips."
, of course the singular is right, because grammatically "It" (no plural available) is the grammatically singular subject of the verb.
'what' clause is the subject for me, too
,What determines political convictions is one's ethical views and general outlook on life
In this Forum I may not use Latin or German to show how the syntactical structure here works, but honestly, this is how it is.
Again, these rules are easily understood with knowledge of German. People make claims all the time in German that you have to know the end of the sentence in order to properly determine the beginning of the sentence; that's just not true.This particular "rule" requires perfect knowledge of the end of the sentence before you start speaking so it seems to have been invented based on the opinion of editors of the written language rather than natural speakers.
Latin, Schmatin! I learnt in my first-year university course that one languages' rules can't be applied to another.
Please, somebody quote me a source for this "rule", in English. Otherwise, I'll beg leave to conclude that it's a private theory invented by some under-employed academic.
So then, the same can be said of your "made up logic"?
High taxes are the greatest problem facing our society today.
The greatest problem facing our society today is high taxes.
Why are you choosing to make "high taxes" a (in my opinion) "single entity" in one, but not the other?...
I'm not. "High taxes" is plural in both of the sentences I wrote in post #19. "The greatest problem...", likewise, is singular.Why are you choosing to make "high taxes" a (in my opinion) "single entity" in one, but not the other?
Thomas's reminder also strikes me as very helpful. You never want to use turns of phrase that alienate your audience, and sometimes rhetorical devices like this particular form of inversion can come off as pretentious or over-the-top.You're always going to have sentences in which the number in the subject and that in the complement don't agree, so all you can do is find a workable way to deal with that. This is the most workable way, as far as I'm concerned.
As an editor, I don't make grueling semantic decisions about whether "high taxes" is the subject or the subject-complement. Instead, editors always treat the noun phrase in the first position as the subject and make the verb agree with it:
The hedonist's main source of pleasure is fine food and fine women.
Fine food and fine women are the hedonist's main source of pleasure.
The best luge duo in the world is Gunter Downhillersonson and "Snowy" Nordkvist.
Gunter Downhillersonson and "Snowy" Nordkvist are the best luge duo in the world.
This is the most neutral and widely agreed-upon way to solve the problem of mixed-number subjects and complements.