Suppose that I'm trying to raise money for a fancy black tie gala, and I want to let the guests know how far we still are from the goal.

Should I say

One million dollars is still needed to reach our goal.


One million dollars are still needed to reach our goal.

I've heard people say it both ways and neither of them sound outright wrong.

  • Money is uncountable, isn't it? So, we should use is, not are in this case.
    – XPMai
    Jun 1, 2015 at 19:40
  • 1
    @XPMai I usually try to count my money.
    – DCShannon
    Jun 1, 2015 at 19:47
  • @DCShannon, money could be collective, not fixed. So, it's uncountable. Notes/coins are countable.
    – XPMai
    Jun 1, 2015 at 19:51
  • @XPMai Sorry, that was a little joke.
    – DCShannon
    Jun 1, 2015 at 19:53
  • @XPMai The word money is an uncountable noun. But a sum of dollars can be considered as either singular or plural, and thus take either a singular or plural verb.
    – user6951
    Jun 1, 2015 at 19:55

2 Answers 2


That's a good question.

Perhaps someone else can give a more grammatically based answer, but let me respond from the position of how those sound to a native speaker.

Those both sound fine to my ear. For comparison, let's remove a few words from the sentence in two different ways:

  1. One is still needed to reach our goal.
  2. Dollars are still needed to reach our goal.

In both those examples it's clear which verb to use, but talking about "one million dollars" is sort of both singular and plural, so you'll hear both. "A million dollars" can be viewed as a unit, but each dollar is also a thing, and there are many of them.

Even though those both sound fine, I too am not entirely sure which is correct, and I might doubt myself if I used either one in a formal setting. To sidestep this issue, I would phrase the statement like so:

We still need a million dollars to reach our goal.

If I had to choose one of the two phrasings, I would pick the singular, with 'is'. This is because I view "a million dollars" more as a unit or quantity than as a collection of individual dollars.

The quantity of a million dollars is still needed to reach our goal.

'Is' matches quantity.


One million dollars is a single quantity, so the correct verb would be is. The only situation I can think of in which you'd say are would be if each individual donation was one dollar, not likely for a fancy black tie gala.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .