You are watching: Are a plethora or is a plethora
I"ve seen plenty of examples the both. Is there a consensus, or is it just one the those things that have the right to go one of two people way?
This look in ~ the matter of the grammar plurality of solitary groups of plural items is well worth reading in full.
To summarise:Some do hold it must constantly be singular.Both have the right to be found, from the middle of the 18th Century on.The plural is the an ext commonly used, has been for part time, and its family member popularity is growing.Respected writers who use the plural incorporate Charles Batteux, wilhelm Hazlitt, john Keats, wilhelm Makepeace Thakeray and also Mark Twain. (John Keats" to be once considered a grammar rebel because that such things as the twin be in "...how diligent I have actually been, & am being", yet I doubt numerous would even notice why the was considered bad grammar by part in the nineteenth century. Mark Twain made hefty use that non-standard forms, however that was a conscious use and also he was not doing so in the example).
I"ll additionally note that man Cowan (who frequently remembers such things) is quoted thus:
J.R.R. Tolkien as soon as received a letter (addressed to "any Professor that smashville247.net Language") asking him around the rectitude of "A huge number of walls is/are being built", and also saying that "big money" was riding ~ above the issue. The answered, the course, that you deserve to say what friend like. His original reply is not in publish AFAIK, yet a letter to someone else referencing the is in The letters of JRRT.
My very own opinion, is the the singular is easily interpreted as it is registered to the noun that explains the group, just as the many is easily interpreted as attaching to the individual members that the group. Neither clash horribly for most readers, though some do hold strong opinions.
My very own use doesn"t even side firmly v one or the various other (my preferences here are offered not together prescriptive decrees, however using myself as an example to demonstrate that consumption may not even be steady on one next or the various other with a given individual).
If a phrase plainly refers to the individuals, I would certainly strongly favour the plural:
The group of protesters were holding placards.
Some clearly to the group:
The group of protesters was double the size as one hour ago.
Many could be interpreted either way:
The team of protesters was/were prevent the entrance.
In which i am most likely to simply mentally ar in among the first two categories, and also write accordingly. Keep in mind that also with the very first two, my strong favouring one or the other does not median I find other choices to it is in incorrect in others" writing.
From what i say above, you can expect that i would constantly favour the singular if the people aren"t mentioned (even if i wouldn"t "correct" another for doing otherwise):
There to be a plethora.
The plethora of piñatas was/were gaily coloured.
But a group practically always at least suggests its members, and also this question encounters one example of that, however there space others.
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There room technical contexts where I would certainly much much more strongly imply that expressions certain to the team or to the individuals be distinguished: The distinction between sets and also their item in mathematics, or between collections and also their materials in object oriented computer programming. Even here, i wouldn"t so lot say that a given form was wrong, simply that over there is a heavy advantage for precision and often you are working to assist readers understand that very distinction, therefore an extra little bit of prissiness might pay off.