Which one should I use in a sentence such as this:

The abstract or the references information of many papers was/were not available.

  • The phrase should be "reference information" using the singular of reference. Reference is modifying information.
    – MaxW
    Sep 25, 2016 at 15:12
  • No. It means that the information of the references of the paper.
    – Shayan
    Sep 25, 2016 at 19:24
  • Even though a paper may have more than one reference, it only has one reference section. So i still think that reference should be singular. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
    – MaxW
    Sep 25, 2016 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


The noun "information", like the nouns news, money, advice, etc., is uncountable and is used with verbs in the singular form no matter what modifiers are used with it.

If you use countable nouns, in the subject-verb agreement it doesn't matter what comes between the subject and the verb. The verb agrees with the subject, not with a noun or pronoun in the phrase.

One of the boxes is open

The people who listen to that music are few.

The team captain, as well as his players, is anxious.

In this regard, don't let "of many papers" in your sentence mislead you.

Whether the "abstract information" or "references information" collocations are appropriate usage, is another question.

  • This does not apply to my question. In my question information refers to both "the abstract" or "the references". In other words it is a short form of "The abstract information or the references information of many papers was/were not available." In the case of this short form which one should be used?
    – Shayan
    Sep 25, 2016 at 13:26
  • @Shayan- I'm sorry, the answer's been re-written.
    – Victor B.
    Sep 25, 2016 at 14:30

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