Question from George in the USA

Is it correct to say:
And now, a wide variety of ENERGY STAR appliances qualify for Hawaiian Electric Rebates.’

Or is it more correct to say:
‘And now, a wide variety of ENERGY STAR appliances qualifies for Hawaiian Electric Rebates.’

Answer

Hello George. The noun phrase in your example is plural – ‘a wide variety of ENERGY STAR appliances‘ – therefore the verb ‘to qualify’ should be in the plural form as well which makes your first sentence:

  • And now, a wide variety of ENERGY STAR appliances qualify for Hawaiian Electric Rebates.

What is a little confusing in this sentence is that the qualifying adjective phrase – a wide variety – starting with the indefinite article ‘a‘ may make you think that you should use the singular verb form for the entire noun phrase. However, ‘appliances’ is plural (with, of course, ‘appliance’ as its singular form) and it is the noun here rather than the adjective which determines the form of the verb. For example:

  • A huge variety of insects live in the Amazon Basin.

Hope that has helped!

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