7

I have a sentence corrected by my supervisor. He wrote:

Finally, directions for future work is discussed and concluding remarks are given.

As I understand, we discuss directions, so it should be are discussed. But he clearly write "is." In this case the future work will be discussed. I have a problem to determine if this sentence is correct.

When I google the phrase "directions for future work is discussed" I have only 8 results. When I google "directions for future work are discussed" I have 99000 results.

Can I keep supervisor's version?

5

Your supervisor is looking at the entire phrase "directions for future work" as a singular topic. This is technically possible if, in fact, there is a topic on the agenda labeled "directions for future work". As your Google search suggests, however, this is not normally how native speakers or anyone else who uses the language thinks about that phrase.

Idiomatic and natural American English is "Finally, directions for future work are discussed and concluding remarks are given". "For future work" is a complement to "directions", which is the grammatical subject of the sentence. Subject-verb number agreement requires a plural verb.

Can you keep your supervisor's version? If your supervisor doesn't buy this answer or someone else's answer that the verb should be "are" and not "is", you will have to keep your supervisor's version, I suspect. Unless your name is listed as the author, I doubt that you want to argue about such a minor thing as a grammatical error. Your supervisor can deal with the embarrassment of being wrong. You can always think "I told you so" and smile secretly at your supervisor's chagrin.

3

You are correct. The supervisor's version is ungrammatical.

I would guess that he is using the singular 'is' because he was thinking about the work (as a singular noun). In fact - especially with the way business communication occurs - the first version of the sentence may have been: "Finally, future work is discussed ..." and when he changed that to 'directions for future work', he neglected to correct the rest of the sentence structure. Of course (s)he may just not have a great grasp of the language.

The correct version of the sentence (as you have inferred) is:

Finally, directions for future work are discussed and concluding remarks are given

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