Which of these sentences is better and why?

  1. Nearly 1 million dollars was allocated by corporations for purchase of devices in 2013.
  2. Nearly 1 million dollars was allocated for purchase of devices by corporations in 2013
  • Difficult to not be a little short with you here. Firstly, tell us what you think. Why might sentence 1 or sentence 2 be right/wrong? What is your suspicion? Before posting, try to check your verb form matches your subject, and as @snailplane pointed out, you are using articles correctly.
    – JMB
    Mar 29, 2014 at 11:21
  • +1 @snailplane and also dollars was? - do you think it's okay? Or it should take were?
    – Maulik V
    Mar 29, 2014 at 13:03
  • 1
    @MaulikV Measure expressions like this usually take notional agreement. Although it's plural in form, we think of the quantity as singular. "Two million dollars is a lot of money."
    – user230
    Mar 29, 2014 at 13:10
  • @snailplane I understand that - walking 5 miles is not a child's play (but then we have walking over there). In your example, you are talking about a lot of money that refers to the sum of two million. But then, here somehow it looks unnatural to me. Had it been the fund/sum of nearly 1 mn dollars was.. it could have gone easy through my ears!
    – Maulik V
    Mar 29, 2014 at 13:13
  • I removed a before the word devices to avoid further comments on that. I think the OP is interested in which sentence is better structured.
    – Maulik V
    Mar 29, 2014 at 13:20

2 Answers 2


The two of them are... the same sentence, with different parts in different places. Another example:

There's nothing wrong with what you've written as far as I can see.

As far as I can see, there's nothing wrong with what you've written.

There is no set order of words in English for a sentence like this.

/* As mentioned in the comments, 'devices' is plural, so replace 'a devices' with either 'the devices', 'some devices', or simply 'devices'. These use the definite article, indefinite article, and 'no' article respectively. */


Some other things raised. 'One million dollars' can be followed by both 'was' and 'were'. You can either refer to the 'one' set of a million dollars' or the one million 'dollars'. The 'one' takes was (as it's singular) and the 'dollars' take were, as there are multiple dollars here.

  • a devices removed. Thanks for pointing out though.
    – Maulik V
    Mar 29, 2014 at 13:20

When we have a sentence in the passive voice, then the by + agent (to say who or what carries out the action) is placed in the end of the sentence.

Therefore, the correct sentence is the second one.

Nearly 1 million dollars was allocated for purchase of devices by corporations in 2013

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