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Hi, Emotion: smile I can't figure out what sounds best in some cases:

  1. All you need is/are two speakers for your PC.

  2. What I want is/are a few good grammar books.

  3. The things I need is/are some beer and some water.

  4. The things I need is/are a new PC and a new car.
Thank you in advance.
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Make a search for
is are plural
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and you will find several related threads.
Kooyeen
Hi, Emotion: smile I can't figure out what sounds best in some cases:

  1. All you need is two speakers for your PC.
  2. What I want is a few good grammar books.
  3. The things I need are some beer and some water.
  4. The things I need are a new PC and a new car.


  5. Thank you in advance.

    • All requires is whatever the object is (except all the girls, all the boys... are)
    • What I want requires is.
    • The things requires are.


    • He has two books cannot be He have two books and that is the point in all your examples.

      However confusing it may look, the verb always matches the subject, and never the object. Only neutral expressions match the object like:

      • There are several people.
      • There is a book.
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Hi, can I disagree? Emotion: wink From Google:

By Lili Ladaga
CNN Interactive Writer


(CNN) -- "If you were marooned on a desert island, what would you need to survive? A Swiss Army knife? Toilet paper? Moisturizer? According to Australian writer Anna Johnson, all you need are three black skirts."

This is from NPR, "Talk of the nation", May 1 2006: "What you have are these two extremes fighting each other"

And this come from the Longman Dictionary: "All you need is a hammer and some nails."

In the end I think it's all about tense agreement, as always (that is, I think this question has something in common with the "There is/are a cat and a dog" question). I'll post my guesses:

  1. Two speakers are all you need ---------> All you need are two speakers.

  2. A few grammar books are what I want ------> What I want are a few grammar books.

  3. Some beer and some water are the things I need ------> The things I need are some beer and some water.

  4. A new PC and a new car are the things I need --------> The things I need are a new PC and a new car.
Notice that in the sentences 3 and 4 I think "things" require "are" even though a singular noun follows.

Extra example:

  • A hammer and a screwdriver are all you need ---> All you need is a hammer and a screwdriver.
So, those were my guesses, let's wait to see if I guessed right. Emotion: stick out tongue
Kooyeen
Hi, can I disagree? Emotion: wink From Google:

By Lili Ladaga
CNN Interactive Writer


(CNN) -- "If you were marooned on a desert island, what would you need to survive? A Swiss Army knife? Toilet paper? Moisturizer? According to Australian writer Anna Johnson, all you need are three black skirts."

This is from NPR, "Talk of the nation", May 1 2006: "What you have are these two extremes fighting each other"

And this come from the Longman Dictionary: "All you need is a hammer and some nails."

In the end I think it's all about tense agreement, as always (that is, I think this question has something in common with the "There is/are a cat and a dog" question). I'll post my guesses:

  1. Two speakers are all you need ---------> All you need are two speakers.
  2. A few grammar books are what I want ------> What I want are a few grammar books.
  3. Some beer and some water are the things I need ------> The things I need are some beer and some water.
  4. A new PC and a new car are the things I need --------> The things I need are a new PC and a new car.


  5. Notice that in the sentences 3 and 4 I think "things" require "are" even though a singular noun follows.

    Extra example:

    • A hammer and a screwdriver are all you need ---> All you need is a hammer and a screwdriver.
    So, those were my guesses, let's wait to see if I guessed right. Emotion: stick out tongue

    Well are/is in the cases you mentioned are the questions of style as well. But, you will not make a mistake if you take what I said and take it literally as long as you do not become a CNN journalist, or a famous writer. Then you can create rules of your own and feel when you can beat the strict grammar.

    If you were marooned on a desert island, what would you need to survive? A Swiss Army knife? Toilet paper? Moisturizer? According to Australian writer Anna Johnson, all you need are three black skirts.

    are is here because the journalist has mentioned one list of things already A Swiss Army knife? Toilet paper? Moisturizer? So in this case all you need = the things you need

    This is from NPR, "Talk of the nation", May 1 2006: "What you have are these two extremes fighting each other"

    are is used here because "What you have is these two extremes fighting each other" would hurt ears, "is these" sounds more strange to "are these"

    All you need is a hammer and some nails.

    Here, is a is correct and there was none reason of style to change anything.

    All you need are a hammer and some nails.

    would sound worse because of "are a", so not only that is a is correct, it sounds better.

    But all as a subject on its own, not a replacement for something else, requires is

    All I need is several books = All is several books = All is several books

    All I need is several books = [All] I need [is] several books = I need several books

    All = everything what (unless you managed to give it a different meaning in the rest part of the writing)

    Everything what I need is several books

    However

    I tried these cakes. All I tried are good. All = All cakes = The cakes

    You cannot compare

    Two speakers are all you need ---------> All you need are two speakers.

    that is the cause of the error.

    Two speakers are all you need = Two speakers are {the complete list of things that you need}.

    All you need is two speakers. = All you need is {having two speakers}.
Thank you for your reply Aperisic Emotion: smile

Aperisic wrote: are is used here because "What you have is these two extremes fighting each other" would hurt ears, "is these" sounds more strange to "are these"

For the same reason, I think the examples I posted sound better with "are". Anyway, as I already said, I guess this "is/are" question is somehow similar to the "There is/are a cat and a dog" question and "Neither of them is/are" question. That is, both is and are can be used, although in some cases one sounds better than the other. Here are some Google results:

  • 18,800 for "all you need is two"

  • 19,300 for "all you need are two"

  • 6,230 for "what you need is two"

  • 15,500 for "what you need are two"
As you see, both are used (even in magazines like "Time" or newspapers). But if I don't get any reply from a native speaker so that it turns out that I'm wrong, I will keep using a plural verb in those cases, since I think it sounds better. Don't be mad at me Aperisic! Emotion: wink

Now let's see if somebody else will give their opinion.
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KooyeenHi, Emotion: smile I can't figure out what sounds best in some cases:
  1. All you need is/are two speakers for your PC.
  2. What I want is/are a few good grammar books.
  3. The things I need is/are some beer and some water.
  4. The things I need is/are a new PC and a new car.
Thank you in advance.
I would use "are" in all four sentences. However, "is" is acceptable in the first two sentences. "is" is definitely wrong in 3 and 4.
Kooyeen
Don't be mad at me Aperisic!

Suit yourself! But don't forget that speakers are usually paired.Emotion: smile
Ok guys, thread resolved: Emotion: wink

From BBC Learning English Service --- http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv149.shtml

  • We now need actions rather than words.
  • What we now need are actions rather than words.
  • Actions rather than words are what we now need


  • And from "The Columbia Guide to Standard American English" --- http://www.bartleby.com/68/45/245.html

    What I need is names and addresses and What I need are names and addresses are both Standard, although the notional attraction from the plural predicate nominatives will tend to make the plural are the choice.

    I could have searched for this stuff before posting, I'm sorry. Anyway I want to thank you all for having expressed your opinions. Emotion: smile
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