What my son likes the best on TV (are/is) cartoons?

My approach:

What my son likes the best on TV is cartoons.

According to me, the sentence means he likes a single thing which are cartoons.

Can you solve this through other approach related to subject verb agreement and am I right in my approach?

  • 2
    related: what makes her laugh are/is dirty jokes – CowperKettle Sep 20 '15 at 13:56
  • @CopperKettle Can we also approach this problem by seeing son because it is singular so we use a singular verb. – justin takro Sep 20 '15 at 14:00
  • 2
    @justintakro "Son" isn't connected with "is/are", it's connected to "likes". "What I like on TV is sitcoms." "What my son likes on TV is cartoons". What is the thing on TV that my son likes? The thing is cartoons. – ColleenV Sep 21 '15 at 0:05

The relative pronoun "what" usually (but not always) occurs with singular verb agreement. In the example sentence "what my son likes the best on TV" is the subject of the sentence and so we'd usually see singular "is":

What my son likes the best on TV is cartoons.

We can contrast this with a similar version of the sentence with plural "cartoons" as the subject:

Cartoons are what my son likes the best on TV.

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