Do We Use “a total of” With a Singular or Plural Verb?

We often use the phrase “a total of” when we want to emphasize the combined number of things. For example, if you have three dogs and two cats, you can say that you have “a total of five pets.” But what verb do we use with “a total of”? Is it always a verb, or can it be plural?

It depends on what follows “a total of.” If the noun that comes after is singular, then we use a singular verb. For example, “a total of five hundred dollars was raised.” But if the noun that comes after is plural, then we use a plural verb.

For example, “a total of five hundred dollars were raised.” So, when deciding whether to use a singular or plural verb with “a total of,” you need to look at the noun that comes after it.

Whats the Difference Between a Singular and Plural Verb?

Most English verbs are conjugated in the present tense by adding -s or -es to the base form of the verb, as in “I eat” or “They eat.” However, there are some irregular verbs that do not follow this pattern. For example, the verb “to be” is conjugated as “I am,” “you are,” “he/she/it is,” etc.

In addition, there are some verbs that can be between a plural or singular, depending on the subject. For example, the verb “to have” can be conjugated as either “I have” or “We have.”

In general, singular verbs are used with singular subjects (i.e., one noun or pronoun), and plural verbs are used with plural subjects (i.e., more than one noun or pronoun). However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

For example, the collective nouns “team” and “family” can take either a singular or plural verb, depending on whether the group is acting as one unit or as individual members. As a general rule of thumb, if the subject is a single entity, use a singular verb; if the subject is composed of multiple parts or individuals, use a plural verb.

How to Use the Phrase: “a total of”

The phrase “a total of” is commonly used to indicate the grand sum of two or more numbers. For example, you might say “I have a total of ten cats.” In this case, the number ten represents the total number of cats you have. This usage is straightforward and relatively easy to understand.

However, the phrase can also be used to express a more complex idea. For example, you might say “The auditorium can hold a total of 1,000 people.” In this sentence, the number 1,000 indicates not only the maximum capacity of the auditorium, but also the fact that this is the combined total of all the individual sections.

As you can see, the phrase “a total of” can be a versatile and useful tool in your vocabulary. Just remember to use it appropriately in order to avoid confusion.

Read more about “a number of” here.


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