1

Can a subject and a subject complement be of different numbers, i.e. one of them is plural and the other is singular?
To check this, I came up with some examples
(where, as I understand, "are", "is", "represent" and "represents" are linking verbs):

(1a) The letters "u" and "n" are the prefix of "uncommon".
(1b) The letters "u" and "n" is the prefix of "uncommon".

(1c) The prefix of "uncommon" is the letters "u" and "n".
(1d) The prefix of "uncommon" are the letters "u" and "n".

(2a) The letters "u" and "n" represent the prefix of "uncommon".
(2b) The letters "u" and "n" represents the prefix of "uncommon".

(2c) The prefix of "uncommon" represents the letters "u" and "n".
(2d) The prefix of "uncommon" represent the letters "u" and "n".

Could you tell me please which of them are correct and which are not?

5
  • 1
    By "represent(s)", is it possible you mean "form(s)"? The letters "u" and "n" are the prefix, not a representation of it. "Form" is also a linking verb, and has the meaning that the prefix is made up of "u" and "n". I don't think it changes the substance of your question to use "form" instead.
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 1:11
  • Also, sentences 2c and 2d don't make any sense. You should use the passive voice, whether you use "represent(s)" or "form(s).
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 1:15
  • 1
    @gotube Can I infer from your comments that: FIRST ITEM) the number of a linking verb depends on a subject (that goes first in sentences) but not on a subject complement (that goes after a linking verb); Hence: SECOND ITEM) (1a)&(1c) are correct, (1b)&(1d) are incorrect; THIRD ITEM) also, if we replace "represent(s)" with "form(s)" (that is a linking verb here too), then, by the same logic, (2a) is correct and (2b) is incorrect. Are the items correct? Thanks.
    – Loviii
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 1:34
  • 1
    I didn't say anything about the number of any subject... but (1) is correct. (2) is not correct because in that context, the letters "u" and "n" could be reasonably understood as a single object: "(the combination of) the letters "u" and "n", so they're both grammatical. (3) So by the same logic, 2a and 2b are both correct.
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 19:43
  • The letters "u" and "n" are the prefix of "uncommon. There is confusion in your question because it sounds like there are two separate prefixes (u and n) for common. But there is only one prefix 'un'. The word 'paid' has two prefixes - 'pre' and 'post'. If you correct all the sentences everything would fall into place. Commented Jun 20 at 11:06

0

You must log in to answer this question.