7

I know 'user' is a countable noun and 'users' is plural. So my logic is that it should be 'equal' but I see many instances that people use 'equals' instead. Are people using it incorrectly or is there some usage I am not aware of?

More users equals more profit, as simple as that.

More users equal more profit, as simple as that.

  • Honestly, as a native English speaker, I probably wouldn't think twice hearing either one. Good question. – Kik Dec 7 '17 at 16:25
14

The subject of the sentence here is not really "users." It's the entire concept of "more users." The users aren't doing the "equaling." For this reason, "equals" is correct. You could think of an implied gerund being the true subject:

(Having) more users equals more profit.

Edit: This is not my contribution, the credit goes to Tᴚoɯɐuo, but it's important enough to add that only some verbs really work with this construction. Verbs that, as Tᴚoɯɐuo said, "go better with existential facts and their consequences or demands. equals, means, leads to, results in, brings, takes, gives, asks for, demands, etc. A stretch in solitary and no TV gives a man plenty of time to think."

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    A package of ramen noodles in the pantry and a few more ingredients means you can quickly and easily round out a dinner in a variety of ways. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 6 '17 at 20:59
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    I can see it now. More examples equals better understanding. Thank you, both. – whitecap Dec 6 '17 at 21:07
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    @whitecap You have to be careful, though. A couple of relevant English aphorisms, "Too many cooks spoil the broth" and "Many hands make light work". The "having" can be, but isn't always, implied. – Andrew Dec 6 '17 at 21:57
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    @dan "Having many hands is helpful" is grammatical, but I'd never say "Many hands is helpful." Maybe this construct can never be used with the copula. Maybe, as I mentioned previously, it's because it works best with specific verbs, like "equals" and "means." – joiedevivre Dec 7 '17 at 3:08
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    There are certain verbs which go better with existential facts and their consequences or demands. equals, means, leads to, results in, brings, takes, gives, asks for, demands, etc. A stretch in solitary and no TV gives a man plenty of time to think. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 8 '17 at 1:30

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