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One set of events in Lord of the Flies that shows how William Golding is a pessimist is/are the murders of Piggy and Simon and the attempted murder of Ralph.

Don't know whether to use "is" or "are." Both ways sound odd to me.

  • What's the subject? Isn't it one set? – tchrist Apr 27 '18 at 1:12
  • Subject is one set. – Amit Chandra Apr 27 '18 at 1:20
  • And when have you ever seen one of anything take a plural verb? – tchrist Apr 27 '18 at 1:21
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    A verb agrees with its subject. Nothing else matters. – tchrist Apr 27 '18 at 1:24
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    The subject is "set of events", which is singular. So use "is". But if it's any consolation, many native speakers might also get this wrong. – Andrew Apr 27 '18 at 1:38
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is is correct. The subject is set, which is singular.

That said, the sentence is complicated, and could confuse readers. Rewording it might improve readability.

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