In the five constructions above, the gap between the number of subjects and the predidative complement works in both directions: a subject complement is the adjective, noun or pronoun that follows a unifying verb. Follow these steps to make sure that your agreement on adding the topic is grammatically correct: the collapsed sentence highlights the disagreement between the plurality of the topic and the complement. What needs to be done? Language is linear, and we know that „the thing is X“ is better than „the thing is X“, so we go with the first, which is the rule of subject-verb concordance. So what are books? It should be considered a collective name, even if it does not look like one or one. Forcing something to be a collective noun is related to the idea of the fictitious agreement. (1) If a subject is singular and its complement (the word or sentence that completes the sentence) is plural, do we use a singular or plural verb? (The short answer: singular.) What is really unacceptable is the instruction of students to break a real syntactic rule to apply an erroneous rule. It seems acceptable to establish a descriptor rule for students: the technical supplement normally corresponds to its subject. In principle, sentence 2.a (the so-called „correct“ answer) is grammatically incorrect. Remember that there is another grammatical rule: the subject and the addition of the subject should match in number. A clause, as you know, is part of a sentence with its own subject and verb, and a clause beginning with „what“ (or „all“) can be a tricky problem in the subject-verb concordance.
And here are some other grammatical examples where the number of topics and predictive supplements do not match: „They were a problem for all of us“, „The work of art consists simply of four pieces of driftwood glued together“ (CGEL, page 254-5). As CGEL says, „what is needed is semantic compatibility, not syntactic correspondence.“ You will find other examples on page 512: „The only thing we need now are a few new curtains“, „The great advantage of the team is its world-class opening bowlers“, „Our neighbours are a nuisance“, „This gadget is five different tools in one“. Everyone knows that it is important that the subjects match the verbs. But it is equally important that they correspond to objects and additions. Here`s what you need to know. The answer is „was“. As we have already written on the blog, the verb is in tune with the subject, not with its addition. „If the complement of the main sentence is composed of two or more nouns, the verb of the main sentence is usually singular, when the nouns are singular and plural, if they are plural: what pleases the voters is its honesty and willingness to take charge of difficult subjects; Upon entering the harbor, luxury yachts and colorful villas are first in the eye. The situation is a little more complicated when „what“ (or „everything“) is the subject of a clause that is itself the subject of a sentence, such as the one you mention: „What I am asking for are people who follow the rules.“ Other sentences with a plural subject may not be so simple. What if the complement is a collective noun that you can`t make of the plural, like „dignity“? You should say, „The Warriors have kept their dignity“ or „their dignity“? Well, the answer seems obvious: „Dignity“ makes no sense. The rule for collective nouns, which are complements, is therefore to keep the singular complement, even with a subsular plural (2).
These are all good questions that forced us to dig deep into many grammatical resources, hoping they would provide an answer. Unfortunately, most people don`t address this issue. One can forgive an inexperienced writer for the erroneous approximation chord and even decipher its meaning throughout the sentence: It can be difficult to choose a verb if the subject of a sentence is clearly singular and the complement on the other side of the verb is clearly plural. . . .