When can “three hours” or “three thousand pounds” be considered singular and plural?


e.g. Three hours ( is – are ) a long period to wait for you.

e.g. Three thousand pounds ( was – were ) collected for charity yesterday.

When we are talking about a sum of money, a period of time or distance we consider it as one thing, and, thus, use a singular verb. Consider such amounts as lump sums rather than individual dollars (pounds, hours, etc.)

For example:

Two hours is a long period to wait for you.

Three thousand pounds was collected for charity yesterday. 

Seven miles is a long way to walk home. 


If you split miles, hours, or thousands and make them distinct, you need to use a plural verb:

Three hours, one today and two tomorrow, are needed to finish this assignment. 

NOTE: When we are talking about number of people, cars, etc. we use plural verb (these are not lump sums):

Three thousand people were killed.

Two thousand cars were lost in the ocean. 

I hope this makes sense! 🙂 

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