What is the correct verb

The minutes of the Stockholders Meeting was presented and discussed


The minutes of the Stockholders Meeting were presented and discussed

Should it be was or were?

  • 'Minutes' in this sense is a fairly rare example of a non-count noun [usage] (you can't speak of '3 minutes' in this sense) which takes plural agreement. Compare trousers etc, spectacles (glasses), pliers etc in some regions, police, cattle, and contrast clothing and furniture in the usual usage. Learner's Dictionaries unhelpfully label 'minutes' (of a meeting) 'plural'. It's not; it's non-count, of plural form, and taking plural agreement. Like 'trousers'. Feb 16, 2017 at 15:53
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    @EdwinAshworth It all depends on whether the OP means "Minutes of the Stockholders Meeting" as one noun, or if they meant "the minutes of the stockholders' meeting". More clarification is needed
    – Hank
    Feb 16, 2017 at 16:09
  • @Hank You can't say 'The last 3 minutes of the SM were destroyed in a fire' any more than you can say 'All my 7 trousers have gone missing'. Feb 16, 2017 at 16:13
  • @Hank "All my 7 trousers has gone missing", "All my 7 trousers have gone missing" ... in fact "All my 7 trousers ... anything" are all wrong. 'Trousers' is always non-count and doesn't accept the '7' etc. And 'minutes' behaves the same way when referring to the notes taken at formal meetings; you can't have "7 minutes" in this sense. // The trousers / minutes of the meeting / police / cattle ... were ... (not was) is correct, though many non-count nouns take singular agreement. "Headquarters" can be followed by either a singular or a plural verb-form. Feb 16, 2017 at 16:35
  • @EdwinAshworth Ok, so we at least agree there. My original point was, if the OP is referring to "Minutes of the Stockholders Meeting" as a proper name of sort, like the title of a report, regardless of whether it's being done incorrectly, then it would be was. This is because minutes is no longer the subject but, instead, a single proper noun is, the title of the report or work. I only bring that up because the OP shows those terms capitalized.
    – Hank
    Feb 16, 2017 at 16:38

3 Answers 3


"The minutes of the Stockholders Meeting were presented and discussed" is the correct sentence. The subject 'minutes' is plural, and it should take a plural verb (were).

Minutes, also known as protocols or, informally, notes, are the instant written record of a meeting or hearing. They typically describe the events of the meeting and may include a list of attendees, a statement of the issues considered by the participants, and related responses or decisions for the issues".

(from Wikipedia)

minutes plural noun : the written record of what was said at a meeting

(from the Cambridge Dictionary)

  • 'Minutes' as used here is non-count (but does take plural agreement). Feb 16, 2017 at 16:02
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    CDO and other dictionaries are wrong with the 'plural noun' (which demands 'count noun') label. According to CGEL, a count noun [usage] must accept a numeral. Thus 'one minute' (singular count noun usage), '4 minutes' (plural count noun usage). However, 'The last 3 minutes have been misfiled' is unacceptable, so this is a non-count usage. Plural in form, yes. Taking a plural verb-form, yes. But not a plural noun usage. You need 'the last 3 sets of minutes have been misfiled'. Feb 16, 2017 at 16:26
  • CGEL deals with grammar, and uses better analyses and terminology thereabouts than dictionaries. Not that I'm saying it's always gospel. But the primary test for countness they give is possibility of use with a numeral. *3 police were there. *3 binoculars were stolen. 3 minutes were left. *3 minutes have gone missing from the filing cabinet. / Agreement with non-count nouns is not always obvious. Statistics is my favourite subject. Measles is often dangerous. Shorts are not to be worn. Minutes are essential for legal reasons. Feb 16, 2017 at 16:49
  • I've said 'minutes' is plural and it should take a plural verb. Is that right or wrong? Can you say the OP's first sentence is the right one? What about these:(The Free Dictionary) minutes pl n; minute book: a book in which minutes HAVE been written. (Collins) plural noun: The minutes of a meeting ARE the written records of the things that ARE discussed or decided at it. (M-B) minutes plural : the official record of the proceedings of a meeting. Feb 16, 2017 at 17:17
  • @EdwinAshworth: Where did you get this idea that a non-count noun cannot be a plural noun? The implication that "non-count" and "plural" must be mutually exclusive terms seems bizarre to me; if you object to this answer on that account, please back up your argument.
    – sumelic
    Feb 16, 2017 at 17:20

Trousers are always spoken as if plural.


    I put on my gray trouser.
    I have your trouser.


    I put on my gray trousers.
    I have your trousers.

Unlike them, the minutes of a meeting are a list of events, whereas the report of the minutes of a meeting is a [singular report of a] list of events.


  1. The meeting was called to order at 9:03am. The treasurer's report was reviewed by Treasurer Mnuchin.
  2. Motion by Chao to accept the report. Support by DeVos. Approved.
  3. Motion by Pence to accept the minutes of the August meeting. Support by Pompeo. Approved.

You can clarify by adding an object:

  • Attached are the minutes of the meeting.
  • Attached is a copy of the minutes of the meeting.
  • The minutes are in your mailbox.
  • The report of the minutes is in your mailbox.

"Minutes"or "issues or topics" when understood and discussed individually at a meeting, is considered plural and therefore the term takes a plural verb.

However, when "minutes' is taken to mean as a single "report", it should take a singular verb. Examples:

  • The minutes/issues/topics of the previous meeting "were" discussed or deliberated upon by the members of the group.
  • The Minutes of the previous meeting (Report) was approved and adopted by the group.

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