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Hi

Please help me with this sentence.

The eight slots on Pam's extra-large toaster __________ that no one has to fight over frozen waffles during breakfast.

means/mean

I think though mean seem to be an appropriate choice—considering eight slots as the subject—even means sounds okay when we consider the whole thing—the eight slots on Pam's extra-large toaster—as one unit.

Please give your views.

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Comments  

As you suggested, the eight slots (plural) on the toaster, and not the toaster itself (singular), are the subject, so the verb should be mean, not means.

Thank you, Jack Dammit.

Actually I wanted to know whether the reading of the sentence can make us consider the whole segment—eight slots on Pam's extra-large toaster—as one idea and thus decide the correct choice as means.

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"The eight slots on Pam's extra-large toaster" may be one idea, but the slots, not the toaster are introduced as the plural subject. If you want to create a singular subject which takes the singular verb form "means", you could express it as "Pam's extra-large toaster with eight slots".

I understand your point and so I don't have any question on how mean can be an answer; I just want to know if means can be possible because of the reason I have already stated.

Let me give an example to clarify my doubt.

Ten rounds in this grounds means/mean George is really working hard to himself fit.

I would like to know if you consider means as a answer along with mean which is in agreement with ten rounds.

Ten rounds in this grounds means/mean George is really working hard to himself fit.


The measure expression "ten rounds" is plural in form but the quantity it denotes is conceptualised as a single entity, and this single conceptualisation can override the plural form in determining the form of the verb. Though not always obligatory, it is fine to use singular "means" in your example.

Other examples of measure expressions taking singular agreement include:

Twenty dollars seems far too much to pay for a takeaway pizza

Two weeks is a long time to be on your own.

Another three eggs is all we need.

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I don't see how both the singular and plural form of a verb can agree with a plural subject.

Your second sentence, in which eight-slot toasters are conspicuously absent, should read,

Ten rounds on these grounds mean George is really working hard to make himself fit.

The subject is "ten rounds", plural, and the verb form therefore inescapably plural.

I was not aware of BillJs conceptualization, so please disregard my reply.

BillJThough not obligatory, it is fine to use singular "means" in your example.

Thank you, BillJ.

Could you tell me if I can do the same in my original sentence—Eight slots in Pam's extra-large toaster......that no one has to fight over frozen waffles during breakfast. ( means/mean)?

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