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Subject:Re: IS or ARE From:Phil03 <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com> To:Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net> Date:Fri, 27 Jul 2012 00:54:54 +0700
In parts I agree, in others not.
This is certainly correct, from a normative point of view:
> the real arbiter of what is correct is how the phrase will be read. If writers can find and debate the awkwardness in reading "two months of" as an "is," then readers will stumble on this awkwardness, too.
As for this:
> He is correct, but he described a subjective construct
In the sense that I understand you here (but I admit I may not understand you correctly), ALL meaning is 'subjective'. A more accurate way to express that is to say all TEXT must be interpreted by the reader.
With regards to:
> For example, employment policies contain references like, "6 months employment," for probation, since the unit of time is six months long rather than six units of time that are each one month long.
If someone were to ask you to explain the meaning of 'six months employment' would it not be as good an explanation as any to say 'it means employment for (a period of) six months.'? I'm not sure what would be a better explanation of meaning here.
And if it is a good explanation, then, as I said right from the beginning, the singular is correct in: 'Six months of employment IS the period of service'.