'Is' versus 'are' before the plural

Which is correct?

What we need are conversations.

What we need is conversations.

I think that we say " what we need is conversation"

What if I want to say ‘conversations’ and not ‘conversation’?

The verb must agree with its subject; the first is by convention usually taken as the subject, so it must be “is”. However, some will call this pedantry and approve of both options. Still, “is” is better.


And be wary of this:

I talked to A PERSON and told THEM about the game.

…a person isn’t a “they” but a “he” or a “she”.

Everybody, everyone, somebody, someone, anybody, and anyone are all singular – all are third-person singular in the verb conjugations:

Everybody eats
Everyone eats
Somebody eats
Someone eats
Anybody eats
Anyone eats

Hi Tom,

I see you’re still flogging that old horse with this comment:

It’s time to move on!

Have a nice day.


If a person here is “he” or “she”, why not use him/her instead THEM?

I may have missed “that old horse” – discussion on the same topic.

Tom meant to say that “them” was wrong there.
I agree with him in principle and would never do it myself, but it is quite commonly accepted in daily speech, especially in America, or so I believe. Therefore I would not correct it unless the perpetrator clearly aspired to literary/conventional English.

In conventional English, the pronoun “person” can be identified as either “he” or “she.” If it is unidentifiable, the masculine “he” is recommended. However, in modern English, it is accepted to use “them” in order to avoid the so-called “sexism” for gender sensitivity.

Which is grammatically correct: “How you get services, products, and help are changing.” or “How you get services, products, and help is changing.”??


That would be ‘is’. It describes the ‘how’.


Sorry but I don’t understand this.
Gray’s question is:
Which is correct?

For me the conversations appeared till now in titles.(books, radio and TV programs, meetings etc) That’s why I think that after the noun of communication(s) we have to use the verb in singular/ plural but before I think we don’t have to make the verb agree with the noun.
For example:

Conversations with Myself is a 1963 album by American jazz musician Bill Evans

I feel if the verb goes before the noun we can use normally singular.

I would say Gray’s sentence :
What I would need to have appointments for conversations with a emphatic psychologist.
or if I want to express the plural :
-What I would need to have appointments for some conversations with an emphatic psychologist.

But when I speak about a conversation/conversations I would say:
I had a long conversation with my best friend.
I had long conversations with my best friend.

Conversation can be b[/b]
Topic of the conversation was the healthy eating.
Topics of the conversations were the heath,healthy eating and so on.
Other b[/b]:to be deep in conversation
…get into conversation
…make coversation =(to speak in order to appear polite.)

On the reception I made conversation with a bored woman.
On the reception conversations were made with everybody by the host.


What do you think I am right?

Kati Svaby