More than One -  Subject Verb Agreement

 

When a noun phrase contains more than one, is it followed by a singular verb or a plural verb?  The verb can be singular or plural depending on the noun that it modifies.  (1) If it is a singular noun, the verb that modifies the noun is usually singular.  (2) When “more than one” is followed by “of” and a plural noun, the verb that modifies the noun is plural.  (3) If there is not a noun followed by “more than one”, the verb is normally singular, unless a multiplicity meaning rules.

 

For example:

(1) More than one machine is broken.

There is more than one kid with head lice.

 

(2) More than one of my students call in sick.

 

(3) More than one are too many.

More than one is too much. 

 

Reference: the American Heritage Book of English Usage (page 20)

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