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Consequently, a convenient sample of 360 drivers was recruited.
Consequently, a convenient sample of 360 drivers were recruited.

Which of these is the correct verb form?

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    It's "a sample"... right? Without "a convenient sample", it would be "360 drivers". Keep track of the subject and you'll find this becomes a lot easier.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 15:26
  • thanks. but my question is about the "to be verb form", should I use was or were here?
    – morteza
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 15:38
  • ... You're asking whether the subject is singular or plural... which is what I have explained in my comment. You use "was" with singular subjects and you use "were" with plural subjects...
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 15:39
  • right, but I search google and I found this: a simple random of size n=200 drivers were ...
    – morteza
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 15:44
  • You can find many examples of poor English on the internet. That doesn't mean that it's correct... It's something that confuses a lot of people.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 15:46

1 Answer 1

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The correct verb form to use is the singular: was. I hope to clarify why this is by displaying the grouping of words in the sentence:

Consequently, a [convenient sample of 360 drivers] was recruited.

Although 360 drivers were involved in the sample, there was only a single sample, and that sample is the subject of the sentence. As there was only a single sample, the singular form was must be used.

You may find it easier to determine which verb form to use if you remove any modifiers from the subject:

Consequently, a convenient sample of 360 drivers was recruited.
Consequently, a sample was recruited.

Here it is clear that the subject is singular.


As some potentially interesting trivia, some dialects (such as the Yorkshire dialect) don't strictly obey conjugation rules. If you live in a region that uses a dialect like this, you are likely to hear were used instead.

In other cases, it can be perfectly correct to use were where you may expect was. For these cases, you may be interested in reading about the English subjunctive.

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