Monday, 21 November 2011

How much is... or how much are...?

Words shaped by David Warr's PlantMaker

How much is a cheese sandwich and a coffee?
How much are a cheese sandwich and a coffee?

Which is correct?

This is a bit like my post on There is... or there are... Instinctively, I'd say the first sentence is the right one, but aren't we talking about more than one thing? A cheese sandwich AND a coffee?

Well, yes, but it boils down to what you are actually asking. Think about it. You are asking for the price of the two things together.

What is the price of a cheese sandwich, and what is the price of a coffee?
What is the price of a cheese sandwich and a coffee together?

Which do you mean? It's obvious now, isn't it? :-)

But then, would you say...

How much is the cds?
How much are the cds?

You'd say ask the second question, right? So, just as in there is/are, we use the verb that coincides with the nearest noun:

How much is a sandwich and two coffees?
How much are two coffees and a sandwich?

Comments are invited and appreciated. Bad Hair Day Smiley (Funny)



  1. how much is/are two coffees and three sandwiches?

  2. Thanks for putting me right on this, Chiew!


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