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I'm having trouble deciding which one is correct here. I know that if it just was:

"In this modern era where everyone is busy", Would be correct subject-verb agreement. I'm not sure about the other two below:

"In this modern era, where everyone, adults and children, is busy.."

"In this modern era, where everyone, adults and children, are busy.."

I also have a small question of the usage of "where" here, Should it be where or when?

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  • An era definitely implies a when and not a where in this case. Also, why modern? Isn't "this era" enough? Modernity began a long time ago...:)
    – Lambie
    Apr 19, 2018 at 16:02
  • Your examples are not complete sentences, so they shouldn't end with a full stop. A valid sentence might be, for example, In this modern era everyone - adults and children - is busy. Apr 19, 2018 at 16:20
  • Sorry, i missed the three points. It wasn't a full stop. The end was supposed to be :"are busy...:" to imply that the phrase continued, but i only cared to know about the subject verb-agreement of that part. Apr 19, 2018 at 16:25
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    You should use a full stop (.) if it's a complete sentence, or an ellipsis (...) if you're indicating that there is more to follow, but just two dots (..) is unclear and not part of standard English orthography.
    – stangdon
    Apr 19, 2018 at 16:25

3 Answers 3

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The subject of be in your sentences is "everyone", so the verb should be inflected for the third-person singular: "everyone, adults and children, is busy...."

"Where" vs. "When" is really a different question entirely but I would say that "where" is fine in this context. Judging by Lambie's comments, some speakers might disagree with me about this though.

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  • You advise "In an era where" over "In an era when", in formal writing?
    – Lambie
    Apr 19, 2018 at 16:03
  • @Lambie: "I would say that "where" is fine in this context." I didn't advise using anything over anything else. As far as I can see, the original post doesn't specify whether the writing is in a formal context, or in a less formal context like a blog post. And I'm not sure that "where" is less formal.
    – sumelic
    Apr 19, 2018 at 16:08
  • Over is just another way to say instead of. In my experience, sentences that look like that are formal. It's not just friends' chit-chatting.....
    – Lambie
    Apr 19, 2018 at 16:10
  • @Lambie: Your comment saying that I "advise 'In an era where' over 'In an era when'" seemed to me to imply that I said that it would be better to use "where" than to use "when". What I actually said was that it seems fine to me to use "where". More than one wording can be correct, so by saying that one wording is fine, I haven't said anything about which wording is preferable (because I'm honestly not sure what I think about that).
    – sumelic
    Apr 19, 2018 at 16:12
  • I see, I guess I misunderstood.
    – Lambie
    Apr 19, 2018 at 16:19
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I would reword the sentence as follows:

"In an era when everyone, adults and children, is busy..".

Yes, singular verb to match everyone.

I would not use modern, as "in this modern era" is opposed to what? The "modern era" began a long time ago.

Here is an overview of the term modern, including modern era: modern.

I think reading the whole entry clarifies why using modern era is difficult in your sentence.

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In this modern era where everyone, adults and children, is busy.

Everyone is singular. Why? Everyone can be "expanded" like this:

In this modern era where every adult and child is busy

Regarding the choice between where and when, the question where wants a place for answer.

How does that relate to time?

Points on lines are places. A common model to talk about time is a "line"--a model so common you have the concept and word timeline.

Points on a line are places and therefore we can say "where does X appear on this line."

Therefore - points of time can also utilize a logical "line" model and questions can use "where".

The question when tends to want things like X o'clock, later, tomorrow, today, something like a specific date as an answer, or a phrase beginning with during.

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