A comment below a photo on Facebook reads

There seems to be a few leaves in your hands.

The comment is factually correct - the picture in question is of a woman with a bunch of leaves in her hands. My question is specifically about the words "seems" - is it correct here.

When I first read it, it felt a little bit off in my mind - it didn't quite flow. If I had written the comment, I think I would write "seem" Reading it again I couldn't decide - and I'm not indecisive enough to be asking here!

Is the sentence OK, or should it be "seem"?


You're right -- the verb should be in the plural, i.e.:

There seem to be a few leaves in your hands.

However this kind of mistake is even common among native speakers, probably because of confusion over what the actual subject of the verb is -- "few" or "leaves".

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There seem(s) to be a few leaves in your hands.

Both are actually correct. Of course if you follow the subject-verb agreement rule then only seem is correct. However, should you instead render "a few leaves" as a single object (a bouquet) then seems is correct. It all depends on the view of the speaker.

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