How many cars the company has are not important for the company's financial

Could you please clarify, is "How many cars the company has" the subject of the sentence above?

I am confused a bit.

  • This "sentence" does not appear to be grammatical or complete. Can you share where you found it and check that you have copied all of it correctly? Mar 18 '14 at 18:32
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    @Hakan I think it's debatable, but to me "How many cars the company has is not important for ..." sounds better. It would make me wait for the next sentence; something like "What's important is ...". Mar 18 '14 at 18:33

As Tyler James Young points out, the sentence is incomplete: there is a noun or NP missing at the end, something like:

... not important for the company's financial strength, or status, or balance sheet.

Otherwise, yes: [How many cars the company has] is the subject of the sentence. It is, however, a singular subject, a quantity, not a plural one, so the sentence should read

How many cars the company has is not important for the company's financial whatever-it-is.

Jolenealaska asks why it is singular, which is a very good question. How many cars the company has does not stand for the expression X cars, which would be plural, it stands for just the number, one number, which is singular. Imagine a conversation between the owner of the company and the accountant:

ACCT: Now here, opposite 'fleet', you have entered '12'.
OWN:  Right, we have twelve cars! Up from ten last year!
ACCT: That is not important. How many you have is not important. Bob, you imbecile, I tell you this every year: the Internal Revenue Service doesn't care how many cars you have. They want to know the value of your fleet.

  • I started to say that, but deleted my answer because I couldn't say why. Yes, it's singular, but how? Mar 18 '14 at 18:46
  • I actually made it up :p, because I am studying sentence forms by creating an affirmative sentence starting with "how many"
    – Hakan
    Mar 18 '14 at 18:50
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    You can ask, "How many is too many?" You use is because "how many" is singular as a subject. I'm a native speaker, but I don't know why that's singular. I just know that it is. Mar 18 '14 at 18:55
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    MBA types sometimes refer to a company's financial status as "the company's financials". I've never heard this used in the singular, "the company's financial", but then I'm not an MBA. (Thank you, God.)
    – Jay
    Mar 18 '14 at 21:00
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    @Jay I thought of including that but decided I should not be party to corrupting our students. Mar 18 '14 at 21:32

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