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'Two and two makes four' vs 'Two and two make four'



 
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ESL Forum | English Vocabulary, Grammar and Idioms
To didn't versus To wouldn't | The articles: An anger, a love, a jealousy etc...
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'Two and two makes four' vs 'Two and two make four' #1 (permalink) Sat Oct 21, 2006 21:44 pm   'Two and two makes four' vs 'Two and two make four'
 

Hi

Could you please tell me if the following pairs are grammatically correct?

1- Two and two make four.
2- Two and two makes four.

1- Three and three are six.
2- Three and three is six.

1- Four and one is five.
2- Four and one are five.

Tom

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Tom
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'Two and two makes four' vs 'Two and two make four' #2 (permalink) Sun Oct 22, 2006 1:21 am   'Two and two makes four' vs 'Two and two make four'
 

.
One reputable grammar site states explicitly that: 'Sums and products of mathematical processes are expressed as singular and require singular verbs'.

Another waffles: 'Usually a singular verb is used in arithmetic statements'.

On the other hand, Ms Google coughs up:

16,400 English pages for "two and two are four"
798 English pages for "two and two is four"
.

As for me, I have ceased worrying about it and use both. It seems to me that 2 + 2 = 4 can be looked at as either a single process or a compound subject, and with equal validity.

Or you can take the psychological approach:

A psychotic thinks that two and two are five.
A neurotic knows two and two are four -- but he hates it
.
.
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'Two and two makes four' vs 'Two and two make four' #3 (permalink) Sun Oct 22, 2006 2:02 am   'Two and two makes four' vs 'Two and two make four'
 

I agree with the ''reputable grammar site''.

(The sum of) A and B is C.

(Adding) 2 and 2 makes 4.

In other words, ''it is C'' and ''it makes 4''.

I have learned to pay no attention to google numbers.
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