Once I read in a website that when there are multiple subjects in a sentence and they all refer to one thing or person, the verb should be in singular form. Now, I am wondering if the following sentence requires a singular or plural verb.

Its huge structure and complexity were (or was) very interesting to me.

  • 1
    Both forms are common. I would tend to say "were" in this case but they both sound fine. I'm not sure which is grammatically preferred.
    – farnsy
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 19:01

1 Answer 1


The reason why the singular might be used is that, in your example,"Its huge structure and complexity" might seem to be a single quality of "it" rather than a list comprising two items. That is more likely to occur if the qualities have some kind of coherence. In this case "huge structure" and "complexity" could well be considered a single feature rather than a list of two, because huge structures are often complex.

If you wanted to say "Its red colour, and the music it played..." it would be very odd indeed to use the singular verb "was".

In such a sentence you would never be wrong to use the plural form, but you might find the singular in the conditions I have described.

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