Show Me the Plural or Singular Verbs with Money!
Some people really like to talk about money. Other people put money in the do-not-discuss category alongside root canals, Brussels sprouts, and giant spiders. But even those who don’t enjoy talking about money occasionally have to write about it. Here is a brief primer on when to use plural or singular verbs with money.
1. Use singular verbs with specific amounts of money even if they include plural words for currency (e.g., dollars, cents, or pounds):
Twenty dollars doesn’t go far at the gas pump these days. (Instead of “Twenty dollars don’t…”)
Fifty dollars goes to the winner of tonight’s raffle. (Instead of “Fifty dollars go…”)
2. Use singular verbs with specific amounts of money even if they include symbols that are read or spoken as plural words:
During this exclusive offer, $25 secures your authentic collectible coin commemorating the great proofreaders of the world. Call now! (Instead of “$25 secure…”)
Today, $5,000 was raised for the local animal shelter. (Instead of “$5,000 were…)
3. Use traditional subject-verb agreement with multiple pieces of individual currency:
US dollars are taken out of circulation if they become damaged.
The British pound sterling comes in coin or paper format depending on the denomination.
In an upcoming post titled “How to Format Money in General Writing,” we’ll explore money formats within text, such as when to use symbols (e.g., $ or ¢) and when to use currency names (e.g., dollars and cents).
Until then, I hope your own money feels more plural than singular!