There are so many types of noun clauses: wh-clauses, that-clauses, etc.

In most cases, when they are subjects, they are followed by a verb in the singular form.

But are plural verbs used when they are implying multiple things?


  1. Where I went is/are China, Japan and Korea.

  2. What I look for is/are books, shoes and vegetables.

  3. Where I went includes/include China, Japan and Korea.

  4. When I want to go to work is/are Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

  • 1
    They are not clauses. "Where I went" and "What I look for" are noun phrases interpreted respectively as "the place where I went", and "the thing that I look for". In general "what" has the default value singular so "is" is fine. However, when the PC is plural as in your example, plural agreement is usual, though singular override is optional
    – BillJ
    Oct 4, 2019 at 12:54
  • Thanks for your reply. What about "where"? Does the above explanation only apply to "what"?
    – vincentlin
    Oct 4, 2019 at 13:49
  • "Where" takes only singular agreement.
    – BillJ
    Oct 4, 2019 at 16:20
  • Incidentally, I would use the past tense of "be" in 1.
    – BillJ
    Oct 4, 2019 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


3 is definitely "is", because China, Japan, and Korea are the objects, not subjects.

1 sounds better with "is", but it's a very awkward sentence so it's hard to judge based on how it sounds. You could say:

The countries where I went were China, Japan, and Korea.

or, better:

The countries I went to were China, Japan, and Korea.

but I don't think I've ever heard a sentence starting with "where I went were..."

2 could be "are". Google "what I look for are" and you will find many examples. If you said "is" that would work too, using BillJ's reasoning that "what I look for" is short for "the thing that I look for".

4 is very awkward but I prefer "is". In that case, "when I want to go to work" could be short for "the schedule of when I want to go to work". I would rather say:

When I want to go to work is on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

or why not just:

I want to go to work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

  • Thank you. I know these sentences are kind of odd. But when writing, sometimes we need to write sentences like these, and they involve similar structures, so the questions emerge. Now, I have decided to use singular form for all of them (this type of sentence).
    – vincentlin
    Oct 7, 2019 at 7:42

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