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I want to say that on Wednesday the number of push ups were/was 20.

Is the above mentioned line correct?

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    Was. The verb refers to the word 'number', not 'push-ups'. 'number' is singular. – shin Sep 17 '15 at 3:34
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The number of push-ups was 20. The number was 20. There were 20 push-ups.

Edit: The long version, for clarity-- "The number of push-ups was 20" is the correct choice. The form of the verb (were/was, infinitive "to be") is determined by "number" in this case. This can be tested by removing "of push-ups" from the sentence, which yields the grammatically correct sentence, "The number was 20." An example of a sentence that uses "were" correctly is, "On Wednesday, there were 20 push-ups."

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  • Kindly improve your answer. The OP wants to know that why we would use 'was' or 'were'. – Maulik V Sep 17 '15 at 12:41

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