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Subject-verb agreement, need fast answer Options
Parpar1836
Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2017 10:48:08 AM
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Question:

There was a spectrum of views among those who saw the documentary.

There were a spectrum of views among those who saw the documentary.

Which one would be considered more correct?
Romany
Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2017 10:59:55 AM
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Easy fixed: the plural of spectrum is spectra. The use of spectrum therefore indicates singular usage.
Parpar1836
Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2017 12:32:04 PM
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Thanks!

What if the reference is to a "multiplicity" or "variety" of views? Would the singular still be correct?
Gary98
Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2017 1:58:49 PM

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There was a
Parpar1836
Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2017 2:09:28 PM
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It wouldn't ever be proper to say "There are a . . ."? I've been using English for a long time (I mean a LONG time!), and I still have these questions. And, yes, I still make grammatical errors and typos.

Back in my early days, we didn't have grammatical message boards either. Just teachers and textbooks.
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2017 2:21:05 PM

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Parpar1836 wrote:
What if the reference is to a "multiplicity" or "variety" of views? Would the singular still be correct?

The word multiplicity describes quantity, it is in fact a number and just as we can say both 'there was/were a number of' I would probably say both 'there was/were a multiplicity of'.

Now the word variety doesn't say anything about quantity - it's just diversity. So I would never say 'there were a variety of'. And I was very surprised when I saw this:

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=there+was+a+variety+of%2Cthere+were+a+variety+of&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3


აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
Gary98
Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2017 2:40:05 PM

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Parpar1836 wrote:
It wouldn't ever be proper to say "There are a . . ."? I've been using English for a long time (I mean a LONG time!), and I still have these questions. And, yes, I still make grammatical errors and typos.

Back in my early days, we didn't have grammatical message boards either. Just teachers and textbooks.


If I were taking an English grammar test right now I would bet on "There is a".
Parpar1836
Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2017 5:55:31 PM
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Joined: 6/30/2014
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Location: Rochester, New York, United States
I don't think I was ever quizzed on that. But thanks, all those who responded. I made the necessary correction. There are so many reasons to thank you . . . indeed, there is a multiplicity.
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