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I have a statement with an error, and I don't understand the explanation given to me about what is wrong with it.

A letter of recommendation b)/ from the principal and c)/ the Head of English department have helped him to d)/ get this lucrative job. e)/ No error

The answer for the question about the above sentence shows we have to use has instead of have: have helped him to should be has helped him to. This is what I don't understand.

My question is that has is used to represent the singular form, so why do we have to use has? In the above sentence, "the principal and Head of English department" denotes two people — so why do we have to use has?

  • It may be worth pointing out that this question was edited prior to migration to ELL. – Andrew Leach Nov 12 '16 at 11:09
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"HAS" here refers to "a letter of recommendation", which is singular.

Taking away those two people may help you see it better: "A letter of recommendation has helped him..."

I hope it helps :)

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1

The complete subject of the sentence is *letter of recommendation *, which is singular, so the correct form of the verb is **has*, also singular. The element from the principal and the Head of English Department is a prepositional phrase and has no bearing on the verb form.

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