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?

  • 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
    Commented 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. Commented 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. Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 16:25
  • 1
    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
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 16:25

3 Answers 3


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.

  • You advise "In an era where" over "In an era when", in formal writing?
    – Lambie
    Commented 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
    Commented 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
    Commented 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
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 16:12
  • I see, I guess I misunderstood.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 16:19

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.


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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