Spaghetti and meatballs is/are my favorite dish.

Hello,

Spaghetti and meatballs is/are a good meal.

Spaghetti and meatballs is/are a good dish.

Chicken and biscuits is/are a good meal.

Chicken and biscuits is/are a good dish.

My question is - Is “is” or “are” correct in these situations?

Thanks 

Original Post

Hi, Xavierious_56 and Gustavo,

xavierious_56 posted:

Hello,

Spaghetti and meatballs is/are a good meal.

Spaghetti and meatballs is/are a good dish.

Chicken and biscuits is/are a good meal.

Chicken and biscuits is/are a good dish.

My question is - Is “is” or “are” correct in these situations?

Thanks 

I partly agree with Gustavo's answer as I see that 'is' is also possible here. It depends on how you see Spaghetti and meatballs. If you regard 'Spaghetti and meatballs' as one dish, then 'is' is the correct choice. If you consider them two separate foods, then 'are' is the correct choice. The following link says that it is a single dish and therefore it is singular: 

http://www.syntaxis.com/subject-verb-agreement/

ahmed_btm posted:
It depends on how you see Spaghetti and meatballs. If you regard 'Spaghetti and meatballs' as one dish, then 'is' is the correct choice. If you consider them two separate foods, then 'are' is the correct choice. 

Hi, everybody -- Yes, I agree with this perspective and was planning to articulate  essentially the same thing. Being a vegetarian, I eat neither chicken nor meatballs. What's more, I don't know anybody who eats chicken and biscuits, or spaghetti and meatballs, regularly.

That said, I am certainly familiar with spaghetti and meatballs as a unitary dish, and I believe chicken and biscuits is also a unitary dish for many people. (See, I just used the singular.) Indeed, if I'm not mistaken, one of the major fast-food chains in the U.S. (KFC, i.e., Kentucky Fried Chicken) serves chicken and biscuits.

 KFC

For me, the measuring rods for questions like this are "macaroni and cheese" and "bacon and eggs." Both of those are archetypes, in my mind, of the unitary dish composed of two major components. Each takes singular agreement. One can analogously say things like: "Rice and dahl is what he often has for dinner."

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Indeed.  I don't even think that the word "and" need enter into it.  I might say, for example:

Scrambled eggs is my favorite breakfast food.

(Not true, incidentally, but grammatically correct.)

I find that corned beef and cabbage makes an excellent dinner on a cold late-winter evening.

I'm very fond of fish and chips, when done right.  (Must have malt vinegar!)  For some reason, though, in my mind, "fish and chips" seems to want a plural verb more than "spaghetti and meatballs", "macaroni and cheese", "scrambled eggs", and "corned beef and cabbage" do.

Gustavo, it seems to me that we usually avoid this problem when speaking of such food combinations in Spanish by using "con" ("with") instead of "y" ("and") in similar constructs.  For example, I am used to hearing "arroz con pollo" ("rice with chicken"), not "arroz y pollo" ("rice and chicken").  The use of "con" makes it clear that the singular verb is required.  D'accord?

DocV

I don't even think that the word "and" need enter into it.  I might say, for example:

Scrambled eggs is my favorite breakfast food.

That's a very good point, which I relate to David's:

"Rice and dahl is what he often has for dinner."

David has already explained the unitary nature of such dishes (no matter whether there are various identical or different components forming part of them). Then, and although it might be irrelevant to the point in question, it's also possible to invert subject and subject complement in both cases:

  • My favorite breakfast food is scrambled eggs.
  • What he often has for dinner is rice and dahl.

Gustavo, it seems to me that we usually avoid this problem when speaking of such food combinations in Spanish by using "con" ("with") instead of "y" ("and") in similar constructs.  For example, I am used to hearing "arroz con pollo" ("rice with chicken"), not "arroz y pollo" ("rice and chicken").  The use of "con" makes it clear that the singular verb is required.  D'accord?

Definitely (I have to say I feel a bit guilty when we use languages other than English on the forum, but it's not our fault to have been born polyglots ). Speaking seriously, I think "with" will only be used in English when what follows is really secondary, like a sauce, right?

Gustavo wrote:

I think "with" will only be used in English when what follows is really secondary, like a sauce, right?

I agree.  I think I would always say "spaghetti and meatballs", but "spaghetti with meat sauce", and use a singular verb with either one.  I would not go so far as to call "spaghetti with meatballs" or "spaghetti and meat sauce" incorrect, but I find them less idiomatic.

In some instances, the word "in" can be used:

Tonight's special is spaghetti topped with meatballs in a basil marinara.  This is accompanied by a vegetable side dish which I am sure you will find exquisite.  Our Brussels sprouts in a lime and garlic vinaigrette has won many awards.

I have to go cook now.  I'm getting hungry.

DocV

PS:  In Italian, the word "spaghetti" is inherently plural.  A single noodle is a "spaghetto".  In English, this fact is generally overlooked, and "spaghetti" is treated as a mass (or non-count) noun, requiring a singular verb.  We say "there is much spaghetti on his plate", not "there are many spaghetti on his plate".

One more thing, Gustavo.  I might say that I am a "natural polyglot", but I can't really make an honest claim to being a "born polyglot".  The birth experience was rather traumatic for me, and after it happened, I was so startled that I literally did not speak for several days.  To make matters worse, everybody talked to me like I was a damned idiot.  It was actually a couple of years before I became a true polyglot.

I never liked that word, by the way.  It sounds like a description of someone with throat congestion.

DocV

Doc V posted:

One more thing, Gustavo.  I might say that I am a "natural polyglot", but I can't really make an honest claim to being a "born polyglot".

I know, DocV. I used it as a joke. Speaking more than one language is something one acquires. Also, I used "born" as attached to the verb "be," not as an adjective for "polyglots": We were born / polyglots // They were born / poor.

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