2

Painting involves a fixed perspective and a form of rational thinking that engages sight.

or

Painting involves a fixed perspective and a form of rational thinking that engage sight.

or

Painting involves a fixed perspective and a form of rational thinking, that engage sight.

Should the verb be singular after "that"? But it is both the perspective and thinking that engage with sight, so shouldn't the verb after that be singular?

  • Your last example is ungrammatical since supplementary that relatives are not permitted in Standard English. Regarding your other two examples, if the intended meaning is that a coordination of "a fixed perspective" and "a form of rational thinking" engage sight, then the verb should be plural. But if it's just the second coordinate, then it should be singular. – BillJ Nov 18 '18 at 9:52
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    Possible duplicate of "The ebb and flow of the tides ARE (IS?) now understood" - compound subject and verb coordination and many others. Please search on the subject-verb-agreement tag. – Andrew Nov 29 '18 at 16:50
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Either form could be correct, depending on the context. If you are writing this sentence and trying to choose the correct verb agreement, then your choice depends on your intended meaning. If you are reading the sentence, then assume that the verb is correct and derive the meaning from its agreement. To illustrate the difference, I will interpret both sentences assuming that they are correct:

Painting involves a fixed perspective and a form of rational thinking that engages sight.

Here engages is singular, so it must refer to a form of rational thinking.

Painting involves a fixed perspective and a form of rational thinking that engage sight.

Here engage is plural, so it must refer to a fixed perspective and a form of rational thinking together.


As was pointed out in the comments, the last form you wrote is incorrect, because "that" should be used with essential relative clauses, which should not be offset with a comma (unlike this nonessential relative clause using "which").

  • Painting does involve those two things so two is right; one is wrong, conceptually. – Lambie May 26 at 19:22
  • @Lambie Painting does involve those two things. However, the question is whether "a fixed perspective" and "a form of rational thinking" both engage sight (in terms of the sentence's intention). – Tashus May 27 at 22:43
  • In other words, compare "Painting involves a fixed perspective, and painting involves a form of rational thinking that engages sight." and "Painting involves a fixed perspective that engages sight and a form of rational thinking that engages sight." Either could be correct depending on what the sentence's author/speaker intends to convey. – Tashus May 27 at 22:45

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