Grammar

“All I need (is/are) cigarettes and alcohol”: which one is correct? (2 answers)
What is the correct verb tense for the phrase "all you need is", when what follows is a plural?

All you need is paintbrushes và paint.All you need are paintbrushes & paint.

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Or is neither incorrect? Both forms sound funny khổng lồ me.

Google shows an order of magnitude more hits for "all you need is two" than "all you need are two", but the latter still has ~500K hits, so it seems that both forms are in comtháng use. (You can also examples of both usages in Google"s "News" search.)

Consider a related example:

All is good.All are good.

Both forms are correct, but have slightly different meanings/contexts. The first is correct if "all" refers to "everything" (singular); the second is correct if "all" refers to lớn an implied concrete mix of things, as in "all (the widgets) are good". This line of reasoning seems lớn imply the latter size is correct, since "paintbrushes" are concrete things. (And yet that seems khổng lồ be the less popular khung in comtháng usage, judging by Google hits).


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asked Oct đôi mươi "14 at 0:15
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McGarnagleMcGarnagle
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I think the choice is driven by semantics. It depends on whether the object of the sentence is "seen" by the subject as a single concept or not.

All I need is cigarettes & alcohol.

...if you"re thinking of their desired effects on your toàn thân, but...

All I need are cigarettes and alcohol.

...if you"re making a shopping list.

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All you need is paintbrushes & paint.

...to lớn begin your artistic career, but...

All you need are paintbrushes & paint.

...because you already have sầu an easel.

All you need is friends.

...some random collection of them, that is, but...

All you need are friends.

...each of them quality.

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Finally,

All you need is love.

...never are, but some may think they need more. :)


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answered Oct 21 "14 at 1:13
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Aaron EndelmanAaron Endelman
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I believe sầu the idiom is that "all" takes the singular, but notional plurality has some merit.


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answered Oct 21 "14 at 1:17
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OrnelloOrnello
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