I am trying to figure out what is the proper plural for this sentence.

What a difference seven years make!


What a difference seven years makes!

Which is correct?

1 Answer 1


Both forms will be heard, the singular, "seven years makes", I think a little more often than the plural. With the singular, the time period is understood to be a single contiguous length of time of a certain length, rather than multiple individual years.

  • 1
    There's hardly anything to add to this. However, much depends on how the seven years are rendered, either individually or as a single time line. I would often stick to the plural, since every year can be unique. Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 16:53
  • Time is typically a contiguous period, and it is here 'equated' to a singular 'difference', so the singular 'makes' is indicated. We do the same with most measurements, since they are contiguous: 'seven feet is too long', 'seven liters is enough', etc.
    – amI
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 19:16

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