"Comparing these stories is/are lazy": "is lazy" or "are lazy"?


Am I talking about the gerund or the stories? Should I use is or are after the word lazy?


Posted 2014-04-28T06:20:19.080




"Comparing these stories is lazy." The subject is comparing, singular.

A simple test is to remove elements that aren't the subject and verb.

Comparing is lazy.

Wes Modes

Posted 2014-04-28T06:20:19.080

Reputation: 131

But the OP asked basically what the subject of the sentence was :) So following your logic, if I remove everything that is not subject and verb, but assuming the stories are the subject, if get "The stories are lazy". – oerkelens – 2014-04-28T09:38:24.087

"stories" can't be lazy!!!! – Vic – 2014-04-28T09:52:32.527

3@oerkelens: syntactically, comparing is clearly part of the subject. – Colin Fine – 2014-04-28T10:48:25.463

@ColinFine Yes, I fully agree. But the OP clearly asked whether comparing or the stories was the subject :) – oerkelens – 2014-04-28T11:01:59.113

@vic Hmm, I could say, "This is a lazy story". I might mean that the story is about events that proceed slowly. Like, "It was a slow and lazy story of people drifting aimlessly through life." Or I might mean that it is the result of a lazy effort. "Bob, this story you turned in for the last creative writing assignment shows no effort or thinking at all. Your story is just lazy." – Jay – 2014-04-28T13:52:04.383

1@oerkelens But WesModes didn't say to remove any random words. He said to remove the words that are not the subject and the verb. You can't "assume 'the stories' is the subject", because it isn't. If the point is, But how do you know which noun is the subject?, that would be a valid rejoinder. – Jay – 2014-04-28T13:53:39.277

1@Jay: "Am I talking about the gerund or the stories? " Seems to indicate: "which of those is the subject", no? The OP does not know which word is the subject, and makes that clear in his question. Then the answer that it is easy to see what the subject is by removing everything else is not very helpful :) – oerkelens – 2014-04-28T14:01:23.253

The subject is "comparing stories." Not "stories." Singular. End of story. – Wes Modes – 2014-04-28T22:34:38.433

@oerkelens All right, I'll buy then. I think I misinterpreted what you were saying. – Jay – 2014-04-29T01:13:58.933