HomeQ&Abasic subject/verb agreement apparently not so basic

basic subject/verb agreement apparently not so basic


In the following sentence: La razon de mi viaje son unos asuntos familiares.

the subject is "la razon" - singular, the verb is "son" - plural; why does the verb DISAGREE with the subject? This should be basic subject/verb agreement but my wife and spanish teacher insist this is correct but cannot tell me why.

And if the subject and the verb can disagree, what is the rule that technically tells you when this disagreement is acceptable? Can I say, "Yo son alto y delgato." Sure doesn't make sense to me....

updated MAY 25, 2010
posted by cj2001

2 Answers


Hi. I'm not sure why you were told that this is correct. It doesn't seem so to me.

La razon de mi viaje es unos asuntos familiares.

The "reason" is the subject here and it's singular. You'd have to use the singular "es."

Can I say, "Yo son alto y delgato."

No, again, the subject is singular, and you'd use "soy."

updated MAY 25, 2010
posted by --Mariana--

There was a thread on this topic recently. In essence, the conclusion was that Spanish and English speakers do not always agree on what is the "subject" of the verb. Each group wants the verb to agree (in number) with the subject but since they choose different nouns as the subject, they disagree on the number of the verb.

Spanish is not English (nor English Spanish nor any language X the same as language Y [even after you mechanically substitute the "translations" that you may find in a dictionary) . If they were, there would exist good/reliable machine translations (which is not the case) and there would be little reason to learn a foreign language (aside from the convenience of not having to consult a machine translation).

updated MAY 25, 2010
posted by samdie
logically this makes no sense; what IS the subject then? "unos asuntos familiares" son unos asuntos familiares?? that is double-speak - cj2001, MAY 25, 2010
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