Good day wonderful people
IS or ARE… A problem unique to pirates? Maybe not, considering that only 9.6% of South Africans’ home language is English. So, we’ve compiled some tips to help. Please note that these do not cover all of the rules regarding IS and ARE, but they are some of the most important ones.
First things first – Remember the following line: Use IS when there is only one and use ARE when there is more than one. In other words, use IS for singular and ARE for plural. But now the question is, ‘only one’ or ‘more than one’ of what?
Using IS or ARE is based on whether the subject or noun is plural or singular. Let’s look at some examples:
- Plural subject: The pirates ARE planning to attack
- Singular subject: The pirate IS planning to attack.
- Plural noun: The ships ARE made out of mahogany.
- Singular noun: The ship IS made out of mahogany.
Now for some interesting examples (it’s English after all):
- The fleet of ships IS made out of mahogany. (The reason why you would use IS here, is because the word before OF is singular. If it had been fleets, you would use ARE instead.)
- My aunt or my uncle IS a pirate. (Two singular subjects/nouns connected by EITHER/OR NEITHER/NOR, use the singular form IS.)
- But – Neither my aunt or my uncles ARE pirates. (The subject/noun closest to the verb is plural and, therefore, we use ARE.)
- The captain and the cook ARE fighting. (Two singular subjects/nouns connected by AND, use the plural form ARE.)
- But – The bed and breakfast, where the ship stopped over, IS the best. (In this case, bed and breakfast is a singular concept.)
Second – IS is mostly used in present tense form when referring to an action. It’s a form of the verb TO BE. It is also used when referring to someone in the third person, for example: He/she IS a pirate.
Thirdly – ARE is used in plural forms. It is also used when addressing someone else directly as YOU. For example: You ARE a pirate too.
Lastly – When you are speaking about or for yourself, use AM. For example: I AM the captain of this ship.
There you have it! A very short, very basic summary of IS and ARE.
Keep telling your story well!