My team and I have an going debate that started when someone posted a sign that stated:

"Your attention and cooperation is appreciated"

Some felt that it should be plural (are) and not singular (is). Though when we typed both versions of the statement in MS Word, it did not see anything wrong with either sentence.

Review the sentences below.

The item in red has been deemed by the MS Word grammar check as incorrect.

So what is the difference? Is the possessive pronoun seen as a singular item so using "is" is correct? Does the possessive pronoun negates the need to make the sentence plural?

If so, then how come sentence #1 and #2 are acceptable to MS? Does the use of multiple possesive pronouns (i.e. #3 and 4) makes the sentence plural and use of a plural verb is necessary? MS Word absolutely sees it that way and states that the use of the word "is" within this sentence is incorrect.

1. Your attention and cooperation is appreciated.

2. Your attention and cooperation are appreciated.

3. Your attention and your cooperation is appreciated.

4. Your attention and your cooperation are appreciated.

5. The car and the dog are here.

6. The car and the dog is here.

7. The car and dog are here.

8. The car and dog is here.

9. Your house and boat are insured.

10. Your house and boat is insured.

11. Her hat and suitcase is arriving today.

12. Her hat and suitcase are arriving today.

13. The bridge and the road is closed.

14. The bridge and the road are closed.

15. The bridge and road is closed.

16. The bridge and road are closed.

Any thoughts?

People have been arguing about this for centuries. I think you should trust your own ear and whatever you decide to say, you'll get support from reputable grammarians. You can't please everyone, so let it suffice that you please yourself.

I think that in your examples, the "wrong" ones had articles before each of the nouns. If you say "your patience and your understanding" you are, in essence, saying that you think of these as two things. But having only one article, as in "your patience and understanding" is like saying you think of it as "your (patience and understanding)" or as one unit.

But just be consistent within your writing, whichever way you go.
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"Your attention and cooperation is appreciated"

I'd definitely say 'are'. The subject is plural.

'Is' is OK in cases where you are thinking of the 'double subject' as one unit. eg You're a good cook. Your fish and chips is great, but your spaghetti is even better. I think that if someone says 'is' in your example, it shows that they are thinking of 'attention and cooperation' as 'one unit'. I don't think of it in that way.

Best wishes, Clive
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