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"A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the atrocities perpetrated by the Government of the People's Republic of China against Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region constitutes genocide."

or

"A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the atrocities perpetrated by the Government of the People's Republic of China against Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region constitute genocide."

Is constitute or constitutes correct?

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    If this is something you're writing (rather than trying to comprehend), I'd definitely recommend breaking up the sentence into smaller parts. If you do need sub-clauses consider wrapping them (in em-dashes or brackets) for more clarity. It also feels like a bit of a fragment rather than a full sentence at the moment — when you strip away the subclauses and adjectives you basically have "A resolution that the atrocities constitude genocide". Well, what about it? – anotherdave Nov 4 '20 at 15:24
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    @anotherdave: Re the fragment thing: This looks more like a (long) title than a sentence to me. Titles are frequently noun phrases. – Kevin Nov 5 '20 at 3:42
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    @Kevin Catchy! :) Yeah it does read like it looking back, now that you say it. I would avoid these type of wordy titles (unless in some area that requires a level of specificity — e.g. maybe some legal/academic contexts), especially as a ESL learner. Could instead have something like "A resolution passed by the Senate condemning the actions of the Chinese government as genocide" and then use an introductory bit to outline the specifics of what/where/how. Guess this is a point of style not grammar at that stage though, but just to point out that sometimes simpler language is much more readable. – anotherdave Nov 5 '20 at 9:58
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Anybody is free to correct me, but I think "constitute" is the correct thing to say. I think you were confused because the sentence is VERY long, but the subject of the clause is "atrocities", which means that the verb has to be plural.

My reasoning:

When you remove everything between "atrocities" and "constitute", this is what you get:

"The atrocities constitute genocide."

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    You are correct – theonlygusti Nov 4 '20 at 8:30
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    Ah, thanks. This is the first time I've answered a question so I was a little anxious. – Joshua Nov 4 '20 at 14:01
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    Great first answer then! – Tashus Nov 4 '20 at 16:50
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    Thanks! This site has helped me out a lot so I want to help others when I can. – Joshua Nov 4 '20 at 17:04
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    If you use "consitutes" instead, it reads as though it's the resolution which constitutes genocide – Mohirl Nov 6 '20 at 13:19
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I'd say

  • The atrocities constitute genocide.

rather than

  • The atrocities constitutes genocide.
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    Why would you say this? Please explain why one is better than the other. – curiousdannii Nov 5 '20 at 23:27
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    Hi Michael Hardy. This answer repeats what Joshua has already said - but with less explanation. Please read whatever others have written before writing a new answer. If you agree with a previous answer and want to support it, you can give it an upvote. Thanks. – chasly - supports Monica Nov 6 '20 at 14:03
  • @chasly-supportsMonica : This answer may be better because sometimes it's clearer if you say only what needs to be said. – Michael Hardy Nov 7 '20 at 1:18
  • @curiousdannii : Because the subject is singular. As in "The boy sings." and "The boys sing." – Michael Hardy Nov 7 '20 at 1:18

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