With inverted compound subjects, do we use a singular or plural verb?
For example, should we say "how is the dog and the cat" or "how are the dog and the cat"?
I'm leaning towards "are" because it is a compound subject, thus plural. But maybe it is a syllepsis, "how is the dog and [how is] the cat"...
What about similar sentences? --> why is/are... what is/are... who is/are...
So do we use a plural verb or a singular for "what is/are a proton and an electron"?
Surely they follow the same structure?
Thank you very much.
overthinkerWith inverted compound subjects, do we use a singular or plural verb?
Use the same agreement you use with the uninverted form.
For compound subjects that's going to be the plural in the general case, but with the same exceptions you find for the uninverted form.
I will not overthink this, which is proper because English does not handle such things consistently , so rules don't help. Going purely on instinct, it's "are" both times. Sometimes it can go either way because you can group the two nouns under a single rubric, but not this time.