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Another plural/singular verb question that I feel must have been asked before but cannot find a good example on ELL or the usual grammar websites. I know the rules for compound subjects.

The dog and cat fight all the time.

But what about the following examples?

Example A1) The average value was 20 in cats, 40 in dogs, and 60 in horses.
Example A2) The average values were 20 in cats, 40 in dogs, and 60 in horses.

Here, I tend to prefer the singular form in A1 because each category has one value. Strangely enough, without categories, A2 would apply ("The average values were 20, 40, and 60.")

Example B1) The value was different between cats and dogs, cats and horses, and dogs and horses.
Example B2) The values were different between cats and dogs, cats and horses, and dogs and horses.

In these examples, I would use the plural form in B2 because you compare two values to find out if they differ or not.

Is my understanding correct? What are the underlying grammar rules that define the verb forms in these examples?

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    All A1, A2, B1 and B2 are used in everyday speech, acceptable, and are practically indistinguishable from each other. Preference may arise simply from which ones your parents used or which ones the people around you use and can vary from different locations that speak English (USA, UK, Australia etc.) Oct 16, 2021 at 10:49
  • Well, that would explain the difficulties I have with such sentences. Let's assume it is written in US English - sorry that I haven't specified this before.
    – Mr. T
    Oct 16, 2021 at 11:03
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    I agree with @Quippy about use in everyday speech. When written, I would prefer A2 and B2 for exactly the same reason as A2 without categories. Three items are considered in each of the four cases, hence the plural on "values".
    – AdrianHHH
    Oct 16, 2021 at 12:02

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