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I'm confused about the requirements of singular/plural in the given sentence.

His most attractive trait was his eyes

vs

His most attractive traits were his eyes

Eyes is a plural word, however, it is only a single trait in this context. Do I need to use plural or singular here?

  • Trait → is; traits → were. The subject is trait, not eyes. – Jason Bassford Jul 5 '19 at 21:37
  • Yes, but my problem is, that eyes itself is plural. So is it a single trait, or does it count as multiple (two) traits? – Yamineko Jul 6 '19 at 6:30
  • It doesn't matter. My problem is that (my three cars were red and two of them broke down). There is only one trait here—his eyes. His most attractive trait was that (his eyes were blue). The verb only agrees with the singularly or plurality of the subject. – Jason Bassford Jul 6 '19 at 7:17
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Trait seems to be the wrong word here to begin with. A trait refers to a certain quality of a person. I think featureis a much more suitable word used in your sentence- and I would use the singular form of that word.

His most attractive feature was his eyes.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks for the correction with feature, you're certainly right. But why do you choose the singular form here, when it's not a singular eye, but plural? – Yamineko Jul 6 '19 at 6:29
  • Can you imagine thinking that someone's left eye was slightly more attractive than their right? – Michael Harvey Jul 6 '19 at 7:25

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