English as a Second Language/Wages (plural or singular?)


Dear Amy,

"The wages of sin is dealth." (Bible)
"wages" is plural, so how come the verb "to be" is singular?
I think it ought to be "the wages of sin are dealth."

Please send me your guideline.

Best regards,
Antoine Ghannoum


given that the text comes from the Bible, I'd say it's correct as is. If it were a sentence you read in today's newspaper then I'd say you are correct. Also, I'm sure that is not an isolated "incident" and that there are many such quotes in the Bible that seem to go against proper grammar, yet the world has come to accept them as such.

I am unfamiliar with the quote so I can't really comment on its meaning or anything else, but I'm pretty sure we're dealing with a figure of speech of sorts here, so that may play a role in the language used as well.

Sometimes, in literature, the authors don't follow all grammatical rules, even more so when we're talking about an old text like the Bible is.

I hope this helps.


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Amy Baker


I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.


I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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