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The magazine's focus was/were politics and business.

Which one is correct? I want to use "were" because of "politics AND business", but "focus" is singular, so was sounds correct as well. Thank you.

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The magazine's focus was / were politics and business.

Number mismatches with "be" are common. Here the subject is singular but the predicative complement is plural.

Here are some more similar examples:

[The only thing we need now] is [some new curtains].

[The major asset of the team] is [its world-class opening bowlers].


The specifying use of "be", as seen in the above examples, is generally reversible, so we likewise find examples of a plural subject with a singular predicative:

[Politics and business] were [the magazine's focus].

[Its world-class opening bowlers] are [the major asset of the team].

Comments  
Necrophagist

The magazine's focus was/were politics and business.

Which one is correct? I want to use "were" because of "politics AND business", but "focus" is singular, so was sounds correct as well. Thank you.

This happens a lot in English. We try not to think about it. The "focus was" something. It doesn't matter whether that something was a combination of things.

 BillJ's reply was promoted to an answer.