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I'm not sure how to make the subject agree with the verb in this example:

  • Women spend about 80 minutes per day on cooking. Their time on house cleaning and child care comes close second and third.

Come or comes, this is what I'm confused.

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  • It should also be "...**a** close second and third." You don't normally use an article with an ordinal number (Jones came in second in the race) but when you use an adjective, it becomes countable (...and Smith came in a disappointing sixth.) – stangdon Apr 16 at 11:27
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The subject is "Their time on house cleaning and child care". The noun in this subject is "time", which is singular, so the verb should be "comes".

The prepositional phrase "on house cleaning..." is a modifier and doesn't change the singular status of the noun "time".

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Their time on house cleaning and child care comes close second and third.

From second and third, I believe there could be two different time durations in the sentence, which has omitted repeated words. The full sentence could be

Their time on house cleaning and [their time on] child care [come a] close second and third.

I feel that 'come' could be more appropriate.

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  • There's no need to infer that there are omitted words. The verb needs to agree with the subject, and the subject is "time" as James K as already mentioned. – ColleenV Apr 16 at 12:46
  • Yes. This is what I meant. "Their time on house cleaning and [their time on] child care [come a] close second and third." How to omit one subject while still keeping the original meaning of the sentence? – Kiên Hoàng Apr 17 at 0:42

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