Treasure island is one of the best pirate stories that was/were ever written.

If I use was then will this sentence become wrong? The subject treasure island is singular, I think we should use was only.

Also, one of takes a plural noun after it, so I think we should use a singular helping verb.


2 Answers 2


Technically, it should be were or have been: TI is a member of the set of best stories.

Of all stories (plural) which {were / have been} written, TI is one of the best.

However, this jars with one; what lurks behind this formula is a slight hedge on the statement that TI is the best story, so most people will use was / has been. This is so common that it is in practical terms the 'right' way to say it.

When I run into constructions like this, I sidestep; I refuse to cast it as a relative clause and just write:

Treasure Island is one of the best stories ever written.


In my opinion it becomes wrong. "That" refers to the pirate stories which are plural. Therefore you need to use "were" in the subclause.

You must log in to answer this question.

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