College courses, like math, (are designed) or (is designed) to help students?

Can someone answer which is correct and why?

closed as off-topic by Andrew, user3169, Adam, Lamplighter, ColleenV Sep 21 '17 at 23:40

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  • 1
    "Courses" is countable, so "are designed". – Andrew Sep 21 '17 at 18:40
  • I don't understand the hold. The poster is confused about subject/verb agreement. It seems a straightforward question. – Jay Sep 22 '17 at 5:32

The subject of the sentence is the plural noun "courses," so the verb must also be plural. The correct form is "College courses, like math, are designed to help students."


Ditto Alex P. Let me add:

When trying to get proper subject/verb agreement or noun/pronoun agreement, it often helps to eliminate all the "explanatory" and "side" clauses from the sentence, strip it down to the basics. In this case, "like math" is adding additional information to describe "courses", so the "core" sentence is, "College courses is/are designed to help students." It should be fairly obvious here that "are" is correct: "courses" is the subject and it is plural, so it requires a plural verb.

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