If I write:

Only a few of his friends were are at this side

is this correct? Or should 'were' be 'was' as a few is singular?

  • Is "were are" a typo? – snailcar Mar 3 '18 at 16:40
  • The meaning of the complex determiner "a few" is such that the embedded NP can only be plural, so "were" must be correct. – BillJ Mar 3 '18 at 18:40

I must first correct another part of your sentence: you wrote were are at this side – I think you meant either

Only a few of his friends were at his side.


Only a few of his friends are at his side.

In this structure of this sentence, few is an indefinite pronoun referring to friends, and since friends is plural, you use were and not was.

  • Thanks for helping me out and apologies for the sloppy writing... – Milton A. Cooper Mar 4 '18 at 18:37
  • You're welcome. Glad I could help you out. – Element115 Mar 4 '18 at 18:37

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