A few were, or a few was?


If I write:

Only a few of his friends were are at this side

is this correct? Or should 'were' be 'was' as a few is singular?

Milton A. Cooper

Posted 2018-03-03T16:36:18.010

Reputation: 11

Is "were are" a typo? – snailplane – 2018-03-03T16:40:16.537

The meaning of the complex determiner "a few" is such that the embedded NP can only be plural, so "were" must be correct. – BillJ – 2018-03-03T18:40:57.017



I must first correct another part of your sentence: you wrote were are at this side – I think you meant either

Only a few of his friends were at his side.


Only a few of his friends are at his side.

In this structure of this sentence, few is an indefinite pronoun referring to friends, and since friends is plural, you use were and not was.


Posted 2018-03-03T16:36:18.010

Reputation: 2 737

Thanks for helping me out and apologies for the sloppy writing... – Milton A. Cooper – 2018-03-04T18:37:07.850

You're welcome. Glad I could help you out. – Element115 – 2018-03-04T18:37:40.090