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What is the proper verb conjugation in the following sentence:

My son is attending school on MWF this week. What days ____ Johnny attending?

Is it "are" or "is"?

Does the verb apply to the plural "days" (and is therefore "are") or to Johnny (and is therefore "is")?

I tried to google around but I'm not even sure how to describe this situation to get to any good examples.

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I agree with a comment from sumelic: (The subject agrees with the verb.)

Since "Johnny" is the subject, the correct verb would be "is", not "are", even though that may not be immediately obvious.

What about these examples? See whether you can fill the gaps:

  1. The cars _______ (is/are) red.
  2. The colour of the cars _______ (is/are) red.

However, it is the meaning of the subject, not always the physical appearance of the word that helps us to decide whether to use a singular verb or a plural verb with the subject. (It means, the verb you should use in a sentence may change depending on what you mean by the subject.)

The audience is clapping. (taken as a unit) The audience are clapping. (taken individually)

Here is another:

Our team has won the match. Our team have won the match.

but

Our team are divided. (The members of our team are divided.)

Moreover, grammar is not always the same. Sometimes, when one country uses a singular verb, another country prefers a plural verb in its place. However, users may use it differently irrespective of the country they live. The subject is controversial, though.

  • Sorry but I disagree with your examples there is a correct answer, with JaredC question there is no correct answer as the question statement is not correct – Brad Aug 15 at 6:33
  • Note that the inverted version (statement form) of the sentence in the question is: Johnny ___ (is / are) attending [on] these days. – Jason Bassford Aug 15 at 8:29
  • @Brad Your comment does not really parse as a sentence, but what do you mean that “the question statement is not correct”? There is certainly a correct answer, and it is the one given in Sumedha’s answer (though it was less clear when you commented what exactly Sumedha’s answer was advocating). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 15 at 11:15
  • Your answer is very clear Janus. I agree with you. Thank you. I love to learn from many of you. Linguistically speaking, language is arbitrary. – Sumedha Manabarana Aug 15 at 11:35

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