Writing for Business

Nov 13 2017   8:27PM GMT

Is/Are – Which is correct?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

datacenter.jpg Which is correct?
A number of IoT gateway products ____ equipped with additional security features.
a. is
b. are

Answer: b

The subject of this sentence, a number of IoT gateway products, is plural. Use the plural verb form, are.

4  Comments on this Post

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  • MS2000
    You nonchalantly state, that a number of ... products is plural. In German singular is correct here. In English, I think I have seen both, while the plural form is more common. To me a number logically is singular, and a number of anything is still only a number. What is the difference to a flock, a pile, a cluster of anything? Would be a correct, too?
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  • MS2000
    *a in the last sentence should read: "a)" :-)
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  • Bryan Betts
    The difference is that a flock or a pile is a collective noun, a number is not. The flock is a thing of itself. A number of sheep is not the same as a flock - the sheep could be anywhere and still be numbered, even on different farms, whereas a flock has to all be in one place. 

    "A number of sheep have fallen asleep. Three are in Germany, and two in France, while several more are in the UK," versus "A flock of sheep has fallen asleep." (-:
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  • MS2000
    Thank you! I think I can live with that. ;-)
    It's funny how the similarities of our languages can cause confusion.
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