I have a sentence along the lines of

There is/are not only one, but many of these synchrotron radiation sources around the world.

So I have to decide between is and are. I have the feeling that I have seen this question discussed before, but I fail to google a suitable phrase to get an answer.

  • The question was discussed here. you can always search the site yourself.
    – fev
    Dec 17, 2020 at 15:00
  • The question you linked is fairly trivial example of two singular nouns in a list. As I have a conjunction in my sentence, I thought that a different rule may apply. But thinking about it a bit more, the same rule should probably be applied here. Thanks.
    – terri
    Dec 17, 2020 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


"There is not only one but many" is the right option.

Here are some uses from professional publications.

Since, in general, there is not only one but many level dependent capacities compatible with the preference information provided by the Decision Maker, we propose to take into account all of them by using the Robust Ordinal Regression (ROR) and the Stochastic Multicriteria Acceptability Analysis (SMAA).

ScienceDirect (with added emphasis)

Ms Ghilaine: There is not only one but many difficulties, and they are mutually reinforcing.

Trial International (with added emphasis)

The reason is that, in such cases, the verb must agree with the nearest noun.

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