What is correct, "demonstrate" or "demonstrates"? in this sentence from CNN:

The announced concessions on dairy in the new USMCA deal demonstrates once again that the Canadian government is willing to sacrifice our domestic dairy production when it comes time to make a deal," said Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Because "concessions" is plural, I think it should be "demonstrate".


2 Answers 2


Because of subject-verb agreement, it should be one of the following:

concessions demonstrate
concession demonstrates

Therefore, the article (or, more specifically, Pierre Lampron) is in error. (One word or the other needs to be changed.)


While Jason Brassford's answer might seem correct, the statement is simply missing some phrases or contextual clues that would help it sound more grammatical.

Some background is probably helpful. Recently, the Canadian government has been negotiating the terms of a new United States-Mexico-Canada (trade) Agreement, in which the Canadian government made some number of concessions related to dairy products. Although he doesn't explicitly say so, Pierre Lampron apparently considers these concessions to be a kind of subset of the agreement -- which, as a single entity, demonstrates his displeasure with the Canadian government's position.

Think of it this way:

The announced (set of) concessions on dairy in the new USMCA deal demonstrates once again that ...

(Edit) To be clear, as a written expression it looks incorrect, and should be fixed. But when speaking, many people will say things that may seem superficially ungrammatical, but which reflect their underlying thought. This is one such example.

  • 2
    I'm inclined to think that the author lost track of the subject way back there at the beginning of the sentence and wrote "demonstrates" to agree with "deal" instead of "concessions".
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 13:52

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