Number Agreement

Ninety cm are more than one cm

It’s a basic principle of English grammar that subjects and verbs must agree in number. This means that singular subjects must have singular verbs and that plural subjects must have plural verbs.

Example: On 15 February 2007, CBC Radio One broadcast an Hourly News item about a severe winter storm which had caused “at least 14 deaths in 9 [US] states,” noting that “more than 90 cm of snow has fallen in some areas.”

What’s wrong: Clearly, 90 cm of snow are more than 1 cm of snow; the subject is plural, so a plural verb is required.

Correct usage: “… more than 90 cm of snow have fallen in some areas.”

For additional examples of number agreement, please see “to be” a special case.

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