Ask the Editor
Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
Verb Agreement and Compound Subjects
Friday June 26th 2020
Which one is the correct verb? The first chapter and the second chapter (is/are) exciting. — Basina, India

To choose between “is” and “are” you first need to know if your subject is singular or plural. 


The subject of the verb is “the first chapter and the second chapter.” Because there are two things in this subject, we know it is plural. Use “are”: The first chapter and the second chapter are exciting. (you could also say "The first two chapters are exciting.")


Here are more examples of plural subjects with two things joined by the word "and". The plural subjects are boldface and the plural verbs are italic:


The cat and the dog are asleep on the floor.

The book and the movie are very different.

The house and the car were ruined by the tornado.

A rat and a raccoon are eating the trash.


I hope this helps.


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