Tag Archives: one or more is or one or more are

‘One or more is’ or ‘one or more are’?

By Mary Morel

One or more

Reader’s question: Do you use singular or plural with one or more? For example:

One or more of the impacted funds is/are available on the investment menus.

Answer: I would choose the plural, but grammar experts don’t agree on this one.

Writing about one in, one out of, and one of these, which I think are similar, Pam Peters, in The Cambridge Guide to English Usage, says:

‘For most writers the choice depends on whether you’re thinking of a single case or general principle. Usage commentators in the UK and the US have been inclined to say it should be plural; and the Harper–Heritage usage panel voted heavily in its favor (78%). Yet Webster’s English Usage (1989) found ample American evidence for the singular construction, and it’s just as common as the plural in British data from the BNC. Writers using the singular take their cue from one, whereas the plural-users are responding to those [people] or the [things].’

(BNC stands for British National Corpus. It is a computer database of 100 million words.

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