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I know there are better ways of writing this sentence that would make it much easier to understand, however, is there a correct answer to whether or not to use "was" versus "were" in this particular example sentence?

"The total drinks that I consumed during the night was seven."

or

"The total drinks that I consumed during the night were seven."

I want to say that "was" sounds more natural to me (for whatever possibly illiterate reason), however, if "drinks" is the subject, it seems like it should be "were". Of course, I could reword it to "The total number of drinks that I consumed during the night was seven." But I guess my question is, will the example sentence above work at all, and if so, which word (was or were) would work best under that circumstance?

Original Post

Hello, Gary, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

@Gary C123 posted:

"The total drinks that I consumed during the night was seven."

or

"The total drinks that I consumed during the night were seven."

I want to say that "was" sounds more natural to me (for whatever possibly illiterate reason), however, if "drinks" is the subject, it seems like it should be "were".

It sounds more natural to you because, as you indicated in your post, the singular noun "number" is missing.

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