English as a Second Language/Subject-verb agreement


This sentence is from "English for Starts 12" (Activity Book) by Simon Haines:

Fractions was one idea which Al-Nawawi explained in "Al-Mughni Fil Hissab Al-Hindi".

"Fractions" is a plural word, whereas the verb "was" is singular.
How can I solve this problem? If I put "fractions" within inverted commas, will the sentences above reads correct grammatically?

Kind regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

ANSWER: Hello Antoine,

I can see why you're questioning this, but the sentence is correct as written:

Fractions was one idea which Al-Nawawi explained in "Al-Mughni Fil Hissab Al-Hindi".

Here "fractions" refers to the "concept/idea of fractions" so the subject, while it looks like a plural word is actually singular.

If you must rewrite the sentence, then this would be my suggestion:

The idea of fractions was one that/which Al-Nawawi explained in "Al-Mughni Fil Hissab Al-Hindi".



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Still it is difficult for me to comprehend this. Would you please give me some similar examples?

Hello Antoine,

here are some examples along the lines of the sentence you have asked me about.

Percentages is a concept I have always struggled with.

Hobbies is something my friend doesn't like to talk about.

Gadgets is something you will always find on my son's Christmas list.

I hope this helps you.  

English as a Second Language

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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.

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