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Saw this sentence written in a news article in the Wall Street Journal", Americas military falls behind russia china race for melting Arctic" (Healy is the name of a ship):

The Healy has high-tech communications and a helicopter hangar that have military uses, but its focus is earth science, especially geochemistry and climate studies.

I thought the correct word is has, especially since it immediately follows a helicopter hanger, but on second thought if high-tech communications and a helicopter hanger are considered together, then of course this is more than one object and have would make sense. But I'm really confused on this one. If anyone can explicitly clarify this it would be greatly appreciated. Because right now I suppose both could be correct?

Edit:

I just came across this sentence further in the same news article.

A joint Navy and Coast Guard program to build more armed and modern icebreakers has been delayed.

I'm thinking have is appropriate here because of icebreakers. Am I wrong?

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    It's a bit clumsy, but obviously there are two subjects for the verb have (high-tech communications AND helicopter hanger), so it's written correctly. The same applies to your second example, where has is correct for the singular noun subject program. Jul 30, 2023 at 17:06
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    Remember to link to the source. "in a news article" isn't enough. I've done it for you this time, because the source was easy to find.
    – James K
    Jul 30, 2023 at 17:57

1 Answer 1

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In the first sentence, your analysis is correct, i.e. "high-tech communications and a helicopter hangar are considered together" is the plural subject of the verb.

Military use seems normal for high-tech communications. However, it's a bit surprising for a hangar.

If we simplify the second sentence, it gives :

A [joint Navy and Coast Guard] program has been delayed.

in which case program is the singular subject of the verb.

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  • This is correct. However, it's important that not all connectives work like "and". When you use "and" to join a list of subjects, the resulting compound subject is always plural. However, if you use a different connective, this may not be the case: "Either Steven or Michael is going to the prom with Jane."
    – BadZen
    Jul 31, 2023 at 17:23

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