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Mob Rule: Grammarama

I posted this question to a discussion group and it incited a veritable brawl:

Which is grammatically correct: "I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one of the bands that [is|are] part of Ozzfest 2006."
No consensus was reached, so we can settle the matter once and for all, right here on this humble little webpage. Fight!

Posted on June 01, 2006 to Mob Rule





Comments

is!

Posted by: brian on June 1, 2006 12:59 PM

is!

Posted by: jo on June 1, 2006 1:01 PM

"one is" is correct. "of the bands" is a prepositional phrase and can be deleted. "one" is singular so needs a singular verb, "is".

Of course that depends on what the meaning of "is" is. And a shame though, Matt, as I would have pegged you for more of a Dragonforce man.

Posted by: Grammar Nazi on June 1, 2006 1:01 PM

I asked my good friend Buckwheat, and Mr. Wheat said the correct phrasing is:
"I be done had me sex wit' ebery one them members of Abenged Sebbinfold, one of them bands that AM part of Ozzfest 2006"
So, there would appear to be a third choice. Hm.

Posted by: Drax on June 1, 2006 1:03 PM

"is" the "one" makes is singular.

But I've never heard of that band, so I doubt I'll be having anything with them.

Posted by: jon deal on June 1, 2006 1:08 PM

Most definitely is.

Posted by: Lindsey on June 1, 2006 1:12 PM

The subject ("one") is singular, so you should use "is". Of course, the grammar question should take a backseat to the problem of STDs.

Posted by: Joe on June 1, 2006 1:13 PM

I would have just written, "one of the bands taking part...." and avoided the issue entirely. But then, it wouldn't be as much fun that way.

Posted by: Patrick on June 1, 2006 1:21 PM

Seems like the sex was consensual and "is" is the consensus. Everything is consensusual.

Posted by: bob on June 1, 2006 1:25 PM

yup. is.

Posted by: zach on June 1, 2006 1:27 PM

From the prior discussion:

People, please. Are is correct. "bands that are playing at Ozzfest" is a subordinate adjective clause describing "one." If you change the phrase slightly to "which is one of the bands that are playing at Ozzfest" you see the point better.

Posted by: Matthew on June 1, 2006 1:28 PM

It says 'bands that are' - bands, not band. In English at least, I wouldn't know about American.

Posted by: Frank on June 1, 2006 1:35 PM

It's totally 'is'. The is/are associates with the "one of the bands", which is singular. "Are" is plural, so... yeah.

Posted by: Andrew Crowe on June 1, 2006 1:37 PM

Is!

Posted by: Jenn on June 1, 2006 1:38 PM

Boo on actually reading the comments posted before mine, thus putting me up to date on the conversation before joining in. Boo!

Posted by: Andrew Crowe on June 1, 2006 1:39 PM

"...a band that is part of Ozzfest 2006." Editing solves the problem...but I agree with the "prior discussion" above. A.S. IS one of the bands that ARE part of Ozzfest 2006. So my vote, ARE.

Posted by: lacroix on June 1, 2006 1:39 PM

The meaning is ambiguous, so either is correct. A rewrite is therefore in order.

Posted by: Andy James on June 1, 2006 1:43 PM

are

Posted by: Anonymous on June 1, 2006 1:44 PM

Incidentally, the comment posted from the prior discussion, above, was not an authoritative ruling on the question. It was just one guy's line of reasoning, albeit a very convincing one.

Also, there's no point in saying that it should just be rewritten -- I deliberately phrased the sentence to promote as much acrimony as possible.

Posted by: Matthew on June 1, 2006 1:46 PM

Are....is....

ARRRR!!.....AYE!!!!!


(oy.)

Posted by: Eric on June 1, 2006 1:47 PM

Re the prior discussion:

"...each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one that is part of Ozzfest 2006."

makes slightly more sense than:

"... every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one."

So I would probably go with "is", subordinate adjective clause or not.

Posted by: Max on June 1, 2006 1:48 PM

Are.

"one of the bands"

"which bands?"

"bands that are performing at scuzzyfest"

or whatever

Imagine: "I had sex with Skanky McSkankerson, one of the guys who is in scuzzyfest." Sounds terrible. The clause starting with "who" (or, in your example, "that") modifies "guys" (or "bands"), not "one."

Posted by: Brett on June 1, 2006 1:55 PM

According to Strunk & White, you should "[u]se a singular verb form after 'each'".

So, "is."

Posted by: Nick on June 1, 2006 1:59 PM

Is. We are talking about one of the bands, not all of them.

Posted by: Jago on June 1, 2006 2:02 PM

Are, or for 10 years as a copy editor I've been doing it wrong.

Posted by: Luke on June 1, 2006 2:04 PM

It's "are," because the subject of the clause is "bands."

But, as a point of interest, the convention in music press is that American writers refer to bands as singular entities while in the UK bands are always plural. As in "Avenged Sevenfold are part of Ozzfest." So, if you're reporting on your escapades with Avenged Sevenfold in NME, it's "are," no matter how you cut it.

Posted by: heather on June 1, 2006 2:04 PM

"Is." It refers to "one," not "bands." But deeper, it refers to "Avenged Sevenfold," of which "one of the bands" is a modifier. Consider: "Avenged Sevenfold [is | are] playing at OzzFest."

Cleaner would be "I have had sex with every member of Avenged Sevenfold, which is playing at OzzFest." Even cleaner (in a grammatical sense): "I'm a slut."

Posted by: Endymion on June 1, 2006 2:05 PM

"are"

The sentence gets broken into two parts:

Part the first:

"I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold."

Part the second:

"Avenged Sevenfold [implied is] one of the bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006."

Subject-verb agreements match on the second sentence part, with the implied "is" matching "Avenged Sevenfold" and the "are" matching "the bands".

You'd rewrite this "Of the bands that are a part of Ozzfest 2006, Avenged Sevenfold is one." You wouldn't write it "Of the bands that is a part of Ozzfest 2006..."

In the end though, I think the ultimate aim of this post is to have as many people as possible claiming they've had sex with all the members of Avenged Sevenfold.

Posted by: Darren James Harkness on June 1, 2006 2:10 PM

Thanks for the fun, Matthew! To quote David Foster Wallace, who gave the book cited below a fabulous review in Harper's:

"Did you know that probing the seamy underbelly of U.S. lexicography reveals ideological strife and controversy and intrigue and nastiness and fervor on a nearly hanging-chad scale?"

"After 'who' or 'that,' the verb should be plural because 'that' is the subject, and it takes its number from the plural noun to which 'that' refers--e.g.: 'It is one of the few writing texts that IS [read ARE] worth reading." The reason for this construction becomes apparent when we reword the sentence: "Of the writing texts that ARE worth reading, it IS one." Or, "Of the bands that ARE part of Ozzfest 2006, Avenged Sevenfold IS one."

Courtesy of Bryan A. Garner, "A Dictionary of Modern American Usage."

Posted by: Eric on June 1, 2006 2:13 PM
_______one_________
  \               :
   \o              :
    \f              :
     \__bands__   __that__|_is__|__part__
      \   \               '        \
           \t                       \o
            \h                       \f
             \e                       \__Ozzfest_2006____
              \                        \
VS
 _______one_________ 
   \               
    \o
     \f
      \_____bands_____
       \   \       :
            \t      :
             \h      :
              \e   __that__|_are__|__part__
               \           '         \
                                      \o
                                       \f
                                        \__Ozzfest_2006____
Posted by: Umrain Zero on June 1, 2006 2:28 PM

...one of the bands that is... that is the correct gramarama

Posted by: matt on June 1, 2006 2:44 PM

'Bands that is' just sounds wrong. I'm going with my gut on this one and voting in favor of 'are.'

Posted by: freezio on June 1, 2006 2:45 PM

I'm surprised by all of the "is" people, but I admit that "is" doesn't sound wrong to my ear.

Still, Heather is right: the subject of the clause is "bands," so the correct word is "are."

Posted by: Kate on June 1, 2006 2:46 PM

Are.

Bands is plural so you have to use Are.

Posted by: mental on June 1, 2006 2:47 PM

The bands are part of Ozzfest. Avenged Sevenfold is one of them.

'Are'.

Posted by: Omer van Kloeten on June 1, 2006 2:53 PM

Wow. I was sure of is. But the are people have convinced me. Put me down for are, and please hold while I go back and correct pretty much everything I've ever written.

Posted by: dug on June 1, 2006 2:56 PM

are

There are bands that ARE part of Ozzfest, and Avenged Sevenfold is one of them.

Posted by: Steve on June 1, 2006 2:58 PM

I think one is confusing oneself with one. One is at Ozzfest, and when one is part of a popular musical recording group, one's band is still one. But when one's band is at Ozzfest with several other bands, one is but one of many bands who are there.

You may have had sex (and we shall skip over the incorrect use of the noun sex at this juncture) with one of the bands, but what if you had had sex with three of the bands at Ozzfest? Evidently, three of the bands that are at Ozzfest.

Or let me put it another way.

I am one of the people that are reading this. One of the people is singular, even though people is clearly plural. Whilst bands is a plural, one of the qualifies this as a singular.

Is.

Are.

No Is.

Yes, Is.

Or maybe Are.

Are.

I'm sure, Are.

Is.

Posted by: jon power on June 1, 2006 3:05 PM

Ok, let's look at a similar (simpler) phrase.

1. Bingo is one of the dogs.
2. One of the dogs is brown.
3. I gave biscuits to the dogs that are brown.
4. Bingo is one of the dogs that is brown.
5. Bingo is one that is brown.
6. I like Bingo, who is one of the dogs that is brown.

Some would say sentences 4 and later should be "are", but I'm going for "is". Sentence 5 just wouldn't sound right as "Bingo is one that are brown."

Sentence 6 has the same structure as the original sentence in the post.

Posted by: Joel on June 1, 2006 3:10 PM

IS! I know I'm late to the party, but trust me. This is one of those sentences they put on the SAT to trick you. I was yelled at by nuns until I got it right, but I'll give the gentler form of grammatical correction today.

Reviewing the statement, we see that there are several individual parts:

"I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold,

Good for you. Not everyone can say that. Note that this is a complete sentence and could have been ended with a period and be followed by the next part:

one of the bands that IS part of Ozzfest 2006"

One of the bands. Singular=is. If it said "one of the MANY bands," than ARE would be correct. In that case, Avenged Sevenfold and its very lucky members is not the subject. The many bands-- the plural group of bands-- is what we're concerned with. But in the example in question, we're talking about ONE band that is part of a group. It's like saying "None of my friends is a murderer," which comes from the early part of Lawrence of Arabia and is how I remember the rule, aside from the nuns.

Can't believe anyone would have fought over this.

Posted by: blnkfrnk on June 1, 2006 3:25 PM

"Are."

Whom did I have sex with? The members of Avenged Sevenfold.

Avenged Sevenfold belongs to what collection? The collection of bands that ARE playing at Ozzfest 2006.

I will bet ten thousand dollars of my own money on this.

Posted by: Andrew Dupont on June 1, 2006 3:29 PM

I'm just astounded at Umrain Zero's hard work on that diagram. That rocks!
(I would vote for "are" in any case, but you confused me enough that the diagram actually was needed to convince me. And English was my strong subject. Jeez.)

Posted by: Melanie in Orygun on June 1, 2006 3:34 PM

blnkfrnk, what part of "'bands' is plural" do you not understand?

And, no, it is nothing like saying "none of my friends is a murderer." Apple v. orange. It is more like, "Matt is one of my friends who are murderers." (Assuming I have many killer friends, just as there are many bands at Ozzfest. If he were the only such friend, I would say, "Matt is my friend who is a murder," or "Avenged Sevenfold, the (only) band that is playing at Ozzfest."

Posted by: Luke on June 1, 2006 3:34 PM

Look, people, if we're going to come to blows over something, can it be something other than the grammatical minutiae of poorly-worded sentences?

Especially since you Mongoloid "is" zealots would just get your asses kicked. WALK AWAY, YOU URCHINS. OR ELSE I PROMISE YOU A WORLD OF PAIN.

Posted by: Andrew Dupont on June 1, 2006 3:40 PM

For anyone really really interested in soul searching the absolutely correct answer, I recommend this website.

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/to_be.htm

P.S. "is".

Posted by: Joel on June 1, 2006 3:42 PM

Hmmm... ok, maybe it is "are" (my brain hurts)

Posted by: Joel on June 1, 2006 4:22 PM

I'm going to have to side with 'are'. One of the bands, which is / one of the bands that are. If I saw "one of the bands that is" anywhere I'd stare at it for a while, then possibly giggle, and be convinced that the writer was not a native English speaker of any kind.

Posted by: Miko on June 1, 2006 4:27 PM

True.

These phrases are correct:
1. "One of the bands is good."
2. "One of the bands that are good."

Posted by: Joel on June 1, 2006 4:31 PM

How about "...one of the bands that is a part of Ozzfest"? does that work?
Choice four, that makes this?
It's certainly more readable and less annoying to a casual reader than either "is" or "are", and sounds more natural in conversation.

Posted by: Sam McBinder on June 1, 2006 4:35 PM

I think the problem and the reason there's so much controversy is that the exact meaning of the sentence is ambiguous. Both answers are correct, depending on how you divide the sentence:

"one of the (bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006)"

"(one of the bands) that is part of Ozzfest 2006."

The problem lies in the entire sentence construction. Add the following after the comma:

"[which is] one of the bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006"

"[which is] one of the bands that is part of Ozzfest 2006."


Now it's pretty obvious (are).

Posted by: David on June 1, 2006 4:36 PM

"Is", as in "one...is". That's easy.

While we're at it, can we get people to stop misusing the phrase "begs the question"? It's like fingers on a chalkboard to me. I've only ever heard it used correctly one time in a non-print situation.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/begging-the-question.html
http://www.fallacyfiles.org/begquest.html
http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/begs.html

Posted by: Nathan on June 1, 2006 4:40 PM

"Is", as in "one...is". That's easy.

While we're at it, can we get people to stop misusing the phrase "begs the question"? It's like fingers on a chalkboard to me. I've only ever heard it used correctly one time in a non-print situation.

Posted by: Nathan on June 1, 2006 4:40 PM

How about some comparative grammar?

Ich habe mit jedem Mitglied der Band "gerächtes Siebenfältige" geschlafen, eine der Bands, die am Ozzyfest spielen

Plural is plural is plural.

My wife, of course, disagrees. (On the english sentence.)

Posted by: Brett on June 1, 2006 5:05 PM

_E_ffect of course!

No wait... maybe _a_ffect...

ah crap.

I'll take FSM for $200, Bob, and go with ARRRRRRR!

Unless one is. In which case bands are.

Props to the diagram, and pox on making this question NOT on a Friday when it clearly is a debate that drives one to drink... but it's a WORK NIGHT! pfffft.

Eats, Shoots and Leaves. ~tracy

Posted by: tracy on June 1, 2006 5:17 PM

@David: The construct "(one of the bands) that is part of Ozzfest 2006" isn't even syntactically valid, though. It's neither a complete independent clause nor a complete dependent clause.

To explain why we'd have to get into restrictive vs. non-restrictive clauses. But, in summary, the clause must be restrictive because (a) it uses "that" instead of "which" and (b) there is no comma in between "bands" and "that."

For that reason, the second part of the phrase can't be the referent of "one"; it has to be the referent of "bands."

Posted by: Andrew Dupont on June 1, 2006 5:40 PM

Seems to me that "that is/are" goes with "bands", and thus, according to the standard rules, it should be are. As in, all of the bands are playing at Ozzfest, not just one.

BUT... it seems to me that sometimes the rules are wrong. As in, real speach doesn't always follow the supposed rules. And if the speaker or writer thinks that "is" sounds better, then she should use "is".

Posted by: Ellen on June 1, 2006 5:52 PM

really. Add an article to the second part of that sentence. it will clarify what murks.

Posted by: Sam McBinder on June 1, 2006 5:54 PM

ARRRR

Posted by: Zachary Hartley on June 1, 2006 6:11 PM

Andrew Dupont uses the longest words, so he must be right.

"To explain why we'd have to get into restrictive vs. non-restrictive clauses."

Oh, let's! I'm not sleepy, and there is no place I'm going to.

Posted by: Piers Morgan on June 1, 2006 6:31 PM

This is the ONE of the more entertaining grammar arguments I have read. And rock on with your bad self for getting so much heavy metal ass! Does the queen know.

Posted by: StampyDurst on June 1, 2006 6:32 PM

Is.

Posted by: Dave on June 1, 2006 6:48 PM

are. there is also a problem with the use of that. correct grammer would use which instead.
in sum "one of the bands which are a part of ozzfest 2006"

Posted by: richard cheney on June 1, 2006 6:52 PM

Are.

David got it right, above. It depends on the sentence construction:

"one of the (bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006)"
"(one of the bands) that is part of Ozzfest 2006."*

The problem is that the second version doesn't make any sense. You can tell which one makes sense by pruning each parenthesized part down to its root:

"one of the (bands)"
"(one) that is part of Ozzfest"*

The first phrase is clear and makes sense. The second phrase is something no native speaker of English or American would ever say, no matter how many band members they've slept with. Therefore "is" is incorrect.

Posted by: cassidy on June 1, 2006 7:00 PM

Opinion from the foreign guy (hey, this TOEFL thingy finally pays off :))...

Just add a helper word without changing the meaning: "one of ALL the bands that [is|are] part of Ozzfest 2006." - now it becomes quite apparent that 'is' sounds stupid.

Therefore, "ARE" wins!!!

Posted by: Sven from Germany (but now in sunny Florida) on June 1, 2006 7:01 PM

Oh, and richard cheney, in addition to having terrible aim with a shotgun, is incorrect about the use of "which".

"That" is the right word for this context. Here's a good mnemonic: if you can put a comma before it without changing the meaning, use "which". Otherwise, use "that".

Posted by: cassidy on June 1, 2006 7:10 PM

I'm with Patrick. I'd just restructure the sentence and avoid the problem. I'm lazy that way. I do the same thing to avoid punctuation problems.

Posted by: spiiderweb on June 1, 2006 7:27 PM

Ew.

Posted by: Steve on June 1, 2006 7:48 PM

I know I'm late to this party, but I was an English major in college and am a bit of a grammar Nazi myself. Therefore, in modern day America, the correct form is as follows:

"Yo tener coochie-coochie con los todos de los membros de Avenged Sietefold, uno de los bandos que es parte de la Fiesta de Oz 2006."

No hay de que.

Posted by: Davey on June 1, 2006 7:56 PM

@Piers: For "is" to be appropriate, it would have to refer to "Avenged Sevenfold," and the word "bands" would have no qualifier whatsoever. So the sentence would tell us that Avenged Sevenfold is a band playing at Ozzfest *and* that they are one band in a... group of bands. Which makes no sense.

Also, this would seemingly indicate that people interpret the "that...Ozzfest 2006" clause to be non-restrictive rather than restrictive. To illustrate the difference:

The house which Jack built has been condemned.
The house, which Jack built, has been condemned.

In the first example, the clause "which Jack built" is restrictive; in the second it's non-restrictive. A restrictive clause is providing information which helps narrow down or identify the subject (not just any house, but the house that Jack built). A non-restrictive clause just provides "appositional" information; we presume the house has already been identified in a previous sentence, and the author simply wants to add that Jack was its builder.

There are two syntax rules with non-restrictive clauses. First, you can't use "that" — only "which." (In restrictive clauses, you may use either, but "that" is more common.) Second, you must separate the clause with commas to indicate it's an appositive.

The way the sentence should be read, "that...Ozzfest 2006" is a restrictive clause that modifies "bands." If it were to modify "Avenged Sevenfold," it would make no sense. If it were a restrictive clause, it'd suggest that there were more than one band named Avenged Sevenfold, and that you were trying to specify which one you had fucked. This is ludicrous. And, as I've illustrated, it can't be a non-restrictive clause, or else it'd be improper syntax, and "is/are" would be the least of our worries.

QED.

Posted by: Andrew Dupont on June 1, 2006 8:02 PM

OK, it is "are". But the real answer is rewrite the sentence. Matthew, I realize that you have written the sentence specifically to engender disagreement, but the disagreement is pointless, as the sentence should not be structured as it is. If I asked, "Is it 'Colorless green ideas sleep furiously' or 'Colorless green ideas sleep angrily'?" I suspect I could also generate some discussion, but there is no reason to do so.

Posted by: Dave Provost on June 1, 2006 8:05 PM

@Dave: You're right — blogs are no place for matters of folly! Thinking exercises be damned!

Posted by: Andrew Dupont on June 1, 2006 8:19 PM

The use of "that" means it must be "are" to match "bands." The that makes "one of the" into a modifier phrase, not the subject. The subject remains bands, so it's are.

Posted by: Ali on June 1, 2006 8:36 PM

it's the 'one' that must be satisfied. 'One of the bands is (here)', 'everyone is (here)'. Nobody would say 'everyone are (here)'

And the be-all, end-all that I humbly submit to you is the mighty google search:
"One of the bands is" ~769 hits
"One of the bands are" ~53 hits

Posted by: josh on June 1, 2006 8:43 PM

One "IS".

I'm an editor. So there. :p

Posted by: Lucy on June 1, 2006 9:23 PM

Hey, can the "is" people at least *try* to provide reasoning instead of anecdotes and Google results? And try to pick things I haven't already refuted in my earlier post.

(Shit, this is gonna get ugly, isn't it?)

Posted by: Andrew Dupont on June 1, 2006 10:17 PM

For "is" to be correct, there would have to be some sort of separation between "one of the bands" and "that is part of Ozzfest," such as a comma. Were that the case, however, the phrase "one of the bands," with no other clarification, would be essentially meaningless. "Are" is correct. I didn't get a 770 on the verbal SAT for nothing.

And yes, all of that has been said before, but for some reason people continue to be wrong.

Posted by: Adam on June 1, 2006 11:22 PM

Oh, and Josh- you forgot a word.

"one of the bands that is" gets 140 results. "one of the bands that are" gets 190. Not that that's even relevant, because these are sentence fragments that are correct in different situations.

Posted by: Adam on June 1, 2006 11:28 PM

well, if i were to ignore the fact
that you just said you had sex with
one of the hottest bands ever, i
would have to tell you that it
definately is: "IS"

Posted by: Evie on June 2, 2006 5:13 AM

I happen to be an English teacher. The answer is
is.
If you don't believe me, just see how wrong it sounds if you say
are.
Again, if you don't get it, then it just proves your ignorance.

Posted by: Camelia on June 2, 2006 5:18 AM

The noun/subject is "One." "Of the bands" is a description of the "one." Definitely "is."

Posted by: KOTWF on June 2, 2006 5:47 AM

The prep. phrase is ambiguous. "Is" if you mean "the band is in Ozzfest." "Are" if you mean "of the bands that are in Ozzfest."

I would leave it out altogether and say "one of the bands in/at Ozzfest 2006."

Posted by: the other white jason on June 2, 2006 5:50 AM

I think all the arguing over (proper) english is rather boring. I just want to know if anyone got this (doing the whole band) on video tape?

Boy must I ever be ignorant, turns out this "proper" grammer (sp?) is just so important.

Posted by: e.thermal on June 2, 2006 6:41 AM

one is. I don't even know how anyone's lexicon can handle "are" in that sentence. It made the bad man screetch in my head.

Posted by: Kimberly on June 2, 2006 6:57 AM

I'm not willing to do the grammatical masturbation necessary to accept "are" as a correct answer. "One" is the pronoun that takes the verb, and since "one" is singular, the verb must be also. Hence, "is."

Posted by: Wayne on June 2, 2006 7:06 AM

Here's the problem:

You can easily parse this either way, with "one" or "bands" as the referent of "that". Since the referent is ambiguous, the thing needs to be rewritten.

Many Americans will go straight to "is" because of the "one of the students has failed" kind of "drills" we got in school. The lesson too many students take away is "if you have 'one of the {plural noun}' construction, always use a singular verb."

Unfortunately, the rule is "Parse the sentence to determine the subject of the verb, and make verb agree with the subject." We just never learned it that way.

(There's a similar problem with "Matthew and I" constructions. Too many students remember--or were even taught!--that it's ALWAYS "Matthew and I", not "parse the sentence do determine the funtion of the pronoun, then use the correct case for that function." Hence, the common error, "Just between you and I..."

Summary?
1) Ambiguous pronoun reference--rewrite.
2) People are arguing about your verb use, dude, instead of listening to your point. When grammar inhibits communication, REWRITE IT!
3) American composition education has sucked for many, many years.

Posted by: Dorothy on June 2, 2006 7:17 AM

Is. The being verb refers to the band name and as it is only ONE band, the being verb is singular.

Posted by: Amethyst on June 2, 2006 7:26 AM

Just to be clear:

The fact that "bands" is the object of the preposition "of" is completely irrelevant. "That" is the subject of "is/are". The question is what word does the pronoun "that" refer to?

If "that" refers to "bands", then it is plural, and the verb must be "are".

If "that" refers to "one" or even "Avenged Sevenfold", then it is singular, and the verb must be "is".

If "that" refers to "member", then we can ignore the grammar discussion and get back to giggling over sex with hot bands. (That's a joke--don't correct it.)

(Did I say "rewrite" yet? Just checking.)

Posted by: Dorothy on June 2, 2006 7:27 AM

Adjective clause or no adjective clause, the subject is separated from the verb by a prepositional phrase which does not control the verb tense; therefore, the correct verb is "is." Additionally, the clause could also be called an appositive since it explains or identifies the noun "Avenged Sevenfold" and "Avenged Sevenfold" is singular.

"Is" is correct!

Posted by: marti on June 2, 2006 7:27 AM

Prescriptive grammar says "are", for all the reasons cited above in these comments.
More interesting to me would be a descriptivist account of /why/ so many people would say "is". Grammar is consensus, so what analysis explains this one?
Such a shame I have to get ready for work now, or I'd do it myself...

Posted by: silentdibs on June 2, 2006 7:28 AM

Isn't anyone concerned with someone having sex with every member of Avenged Sevenfold? I mean - ew!

Posted by: Sarah on June 2, 2006 7:53 AM

Rewrite.

I deliberately phrased the sentence to promote as much acrimony as possible.

You're evil.

P.S. "are" not "is".

Posted by: Bill Hooker on June 2, 2006 8:04 AM

Rock and roll, Sex, and Violence, all from a Defective Yeti post on grammar.

Forget the grammar, we need some good old fashion Drugs to deal with this problem.

That's what is missing from the sentence.

Or was it the drugs that started the gang bang that caused this heavy metal battle of grammarians?

Posted by: SmartAss on June 2, 2006 8:04 AM

Dorothy said:
If "that" refers to "bands", then it is plural, and the verb must be "are". If "that" refers to "one" or even "Avenged Sevenfold", then it is singular, and the verb must be "is".

You're one smart cookie, Dorothy. It rests entirely on "that." Those damned pronoun/verb agreement questions!

By the way, English majors, English teachers, and editors, your experience doesn't make you immune to getting tripped up by grammar rules. I am or have been all three of these things, and it's still something I could easily screw up. Did any of you read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, where the narrator talks about how all these famous mathmeticians got tripped up over a simple logic problem?

Posted by: Carrie on June 2, 2006 8:07 AM

Camelia, I'm a teacher myself and I have to wonder if you really make a habit of teaching grammar based on what "sounds right" and dismissing contrary arguments as "ignorant".

Anyway, the correct verb is "are." The use of "that," as Andrew has tried to point out, clinches it. If the author had used "which," then it would be more ambiguous. The two possible statements that people are picking up on would then be:

- I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one of the bands, [which] is a part of Ozzfest 2006. (note the comma after "bands")

OR

- I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one of the bands [which] are part of Ozzfest 2006.

In the first one, "one of the bands" is a parenthetical appositive statement modifying Avenged Sevenfold and so is superfluous to the sentence. The core sentence there is "I had sex with Avenged Sevenfold, which is a part of Ozzfest 2006." This use of "is" is correct, but as others have pointed out above, it makes "one of the bands" meaningless. What is this group called The Bands we're talking about? They're not the group of bands playing Ozzfest because the relative clause only refers to Avenged Sevenfold! But it's pointless to debate this because the use of "that" makes such a reading impossible to begin with. "that" would make the core sentence: "I had sex with Avenged Sevenfold that is a part of Ozzfest 2006." As Andrew pointed out, this is not how we use "that" in English.

The second way to read the sentence is with the relative pronoun taking "bands" as its antecedent. This means the relative clause needs a plural verb since the subject of the clause is plural. To restate and reorder the sentence: "Of the bands that are playing at Ozzfest, I had sex with one: Avenged Sevenfold."

This reading is the only possible reading given the fact that the author used "that" (correctly) rather than "which." I agree with Dorothy that "is" is a knee-jerk reaction. Avenged Sevenfold is one member of a group of bands and all the members of that group together ARE playing Ozzfest this summer.

Also those guys we met at Denny's after the show? They weren't really Avenged Sevenfold. I know! I know they told you that they were, but you were drunk. I tried to stop you!

Posted by: Kevin on June 2, 2006 8:08 AM

I meant mathematician, of course! :(

Posted by: Carrie on June 2, 2006 8:09 AM

Advantage, Umrain.

Posted by: Brett on June 2, 2006 8:39 AM

i told you on the "discussion group" and i'm telling you again now:

is NOT are

Posted by: mathew on June 2, 2006 8:46 AM

I intuitively know that it should be

"...one of the bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006."

This is a red marble. Many marbles are red. Many marbles, including this one, are red. This is one of the marbles that are red.

This band is in Ozzfest 2006. Many bands are in Ozzfest 2006. Many bands, including this one, are in Ozzfest 2006. This is one of the bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006.

Is this discussion picking up a division between people who have studied Latin/Greek/Russian and those who haven't?

Posted by: Sumana on June 2, 2006 9:00 AM

wow. After much anguish, research and phone calls to toehr uber geeks, I found that "are" totally wins.

This makes me very angry, as I really believed in "is" before the research began. My brain hurts.

See this reference
http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/SubjectVerb.html
The last example, 1st sentence about Mary.

Posted by: zeekster on June 2, 2006 9:09 AM

"bands are part" not "bands is part"

Posted by: Tina K. on June 2, 2006 9:23 AM

Nice work Umrain Zero.

I haven't seen a diagrammed sentence in about 15 years.

Posted by: Sara on June 2, 2006 9:42 AM

IS

No one would say Avenged Sevenfold are apart of Ozzfest. It's only one band, not seven.

Now if the argument was if you had sex with all of the members of all of the bands... then "are" would be gramatically correct.

Posted by: nic on June 2, 2006 9:49 AM

ARE. The word is in reference to "bands", not "Avenged Sevenfold". Avenged Sevenfold is a subset of the "bands that ARE a part of Ozzfest".

Posted by: SMurph on June 2, 2006 10:01 AM

"Is this discussion picking up a division between people who have studied Latin/Greek/Russian and those who haven't?"

I wouldn't be surprised. But it also appears to pick up a division between those who READ THE COMMENTS before replying and those who do not.

Posted by: Andrew Dupont on June 2, 2006 10:02 AM

Okay, I'm completely unable to read through the entire thread of comments, so I'll just throw mine in without perusing to see what I'm duplicating.

I'm not an expert, I believe that "are" is correct.

I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one of the bands that [is|are] part of Ozzfest 2006

The analysis can be done locally. Everything up the comma is irelevent, leaving us with the following: "[a] is one of the [b]s that ?? part of [c]". The claim is not that [a] is part of [c], but rather that all of the [b]s are part of [c]. Hence, "are" is correct. In other words, it's claiming that "[a] is one of the [B]s", where "[B]s" == "bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006."

Posted by: Michael Chermside on June 2, 2006 10:07 AM

The sentence itself is slightly unclear. It looks like it can be is or are, depending on the intended meaning. Umrain Zero's amazing ascII graph above illustrates the two meanings, and why IS or ARE applies in each case. There is a human tendency that is showing up in the comments here. When someone sees the sentence, his/her brain initially parses it one way. That meaning triggers their choice of verb form.

Look at these two sentences:
I like Jim, one of my friends, who IS at Ozzfest.
I like Jim, one of my friends, who ARE at Ozzfest.

Either Jim is the only one there, or all of my friends are there and Jim is just one of them. With the wording of the original sentence, I think they are referring to a lot of bands who ARE at Ozzfest. In that usage, Avenged Sevenfold is a member of X, where X includes the whole rest of the sentence.

Summary: I think it's referring to bands at Ozzfest, rather than just one band at Ozzfest, so it should probably be ARE. It was a tricky one though.

Posted by: Rocky on June 2, 2006 10:29 AM

Is

Posted by: Jen on June 2, 2006 11:42 AM

Because you're using "band" as a singular noun (though in the sentence, "bands" is used to quality "one of the"), "is" is proper.
Take "Avenged Sevenfold IS one of the bands playing at Ozzfest." vs. "Avenged Sevenfold ARE one of the bands playing at Ozzfest."

Posted by: Devlyn on June 2, 2006 11:43 AM

I'll be damned. After reading all these arguments, I actually think I'm wrong. I now believe it should have been 'are'.

I've been wrong before, and I will be again.

Posted by: Nathan on June 2, 2006 11:57 AM

"is" -- subject of the clause is not "bands (plural) but "one of the bands" (singular).

Posted by: emily on June 2, 2006 11:58 AM

Jeez, I thought that pidgin Spanish that I wrote, what, 200 posts back, was at least a little funny. Apparently, this is The Most Important Issue of Our Lives and not to be taken lightly.

Is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, is, dammit.

Posted by: Davey on June 2, 2006 12:03 PM

The problem comes from whether you consider a band as a singular entity, or a collection of entities. I.E. Pearl Jam is/are playing Ozzfest. It becomes more complicated when you have band names that lend themselves blatently to the collection of entities theory of banding, e.g. the stones is/are playing ozzfest. Clearly the stones should be plural, as there is a collection of them. So is avenged sevenfold a singular entity or plural? Are they further in the collection of bands that [is/are] playing Ozzfest?

Posted by: ctsc on June 2, 2006 12:09 PM

"are"

oh and ...

Avenged Sevenfold is the sux0r

Posted by: Some Nub on June 2, 2006 12:16 PM

Are!

The bands, of which they are one, are playing at Ozzfest. The tail end of the phrase refers to the Avenged Sevenfold as one of a group which it then describes. The bands are playing at Ozzfest.

All you 'is' people are just distratcted by the word 'sex'.
; )

Posted by: chris r on June 2, 2006 12:16 PM

IS!

Posted by: Ice Queen on June 2, 2006 12:19 PM

I put this question to the spirit of my long departed HS English teacher, Miss. Fink. After she slapped my knuckles with a ruler for even asking, she said it must be singular thus 'is'.

I am very impressed by the sentence diagrammer -- I haven't done that for many decades (don't tell Miss Fink).

Posted by: Tom on June 2, 2006 12:46 PM

I'm just astounded that he had sex with an entire band. One among many bands that are performing at Ozzfest. Chew on THAT one! HA HA!

(Grammarians will get it.)

Posted by: NSMike on June 2, 2006 12:56 PM

Reading the sentence, can you determine that more than one band will be playing at ozzfest? Yes, because the subject of "... playing at ozzfest" is bands, not Avenged Sevenfold, and the correct answer is "are".

If the sentence said, "I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one of my favorite bands, which [is|are] part of Ozzfest 2006", you would use is (in this case it's referring to Avenged Sevenfold, not "my favorite bands"). In the sentence posted by Matt, the correct usage is "are".

Posted by: Crash on June 2, 2006 1:28 PM

Has somebody said "ain't" yet?

Posted by: Goldie on June 2, 2006 1:40 PM

In the phrase "one of the bands that is/are", simply replace "of the bands" with "band" and see how the sentence reads. "I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one band that is part of Ozzfest 2006." One of the bands is one band. Hah!

Posted by: John on June 2, 2006 2:07 PM

I just can't believe that Ozzfest is still around. I guess all the sex the band members ARE having makes it worthwhile.

Posted by: Tricia on June 2, 2006 2:34 PM

Very much in the "for what it's worth" department: trying this out in Microsoft Word, using their grammar-correcting tools, it says that the correct choice is "are".

Posted by: SMurph on June 2, 2006 2:52 PM

Hee! Re: MS Word telling you to use 'are', that just makes me feel that much happier for abandoning Windows forever!

As you can guess, I'm on team 'is'.

Posted by: Sebastian on June 2, 2006 6:26 PM

All you need to do is reverse the order of the sentence: Of the bands that ARE playing at Ozzfest, Avenged Sevenfold is one.

If that isn't enough, here is a direct quote from the 9th edition of the Gregg Reference Manual, paragraph 1008, section b.:

"The phrases 'one of those who' and 'one of the things that' are followed by PLURAL verbs because the verbs refer to 'those' or 'things' (rather than to 'one')."

Posted by: Amber on June 2, 2006 8:00 PM

My first inclination was is, but after breaking it down into the clauses all that matters is "bands that [is|are] playing Ozzfest 2006". The correct form is are.

Although personally, I like "one of the bands what is playing Ozzfest 2006" best.

Also, if I had to have sex with every member (I said member) of a band playing Ozzfest, I'd be hoping the Donnas or the Pandoras (RIP) were there. And I'm sure I'd be dissapointed.

Posted by: Mister Man on June 2, 2006 9:34 PM

are

The bands that are playing at Ozzfest are the subject of the verb.

But I think it would be better to have it:
"...one of the bands playing at Ozzfest"

as "that" makes the sentence feel stilted.

Posted by: Andrew on June 3, 2006 2:51 AM

It's definitely "are". I'm a neurotic OCD writer so everything I say about grammar is automatically right.

But really, I can back it up, with something I'm sure someone else has said, but I'm too lazy to read every single comment.

Basically it's the bands that are being, not the one. "The BANDS are part of Ozzfest", not "the one is part of Ozzfest."

The real conclusion should be that no matter what, lots of people will think it's fine, and lots of other people will think you're wrong. Either way it's not something that will jump out at people as a mistake and bother them too much.

PS I've been enjoying your blog for a while now and this is the first thing I've felt I couldn't not comment on. What does that say about me? Hmm...

Posted by: Calenmir on June 3, 2006 2:55 AM

I do not know if it is correct or not, but sure would be fun!!

Posted by: Australian Gold | Swedish Beauty Tanning Lotion on June 3, 2006 5:43 AM

I agree it sounded like a great time.

Posted by: Penis Enlargement Pills | Natural Penis Enlargement Cream on June 3, 2006 5:44 AM

*** GRAMMAR POLICE *** DO NOT CROSS *** GRAMMAR POLICE *** DO NOT CROSS ***

"Are" is correct. It's a matter of set definition.

To wit: "Avenged Sevenfold, one of the bands that is playing at Ozzfest" refers to the set "bands" (literally, all bands) and identifies Avenged Sevenfold as a member of that set that happens to be playing at Ozzfest.

By contrast: "Avenged Sevenfold, one of the bands that are playing at Ozzfest" refers to the set of "bands that are playing at Ozzfest" and identifies Avenged Sevenfold as a member of that set.

Both uses are grammatically correct, as a technical matter; but they obviously convey very different meanings, and it's clear that the latter construction is contextually correct.

*** GRAMMAR POLICE *** DO NOT CROSS *** GRAMMAR POLICE *** DO NOT CROSS ***

Posted by: Dan Someone on June 3, 2006 7:03 AM

Dan Someone is absolutely correct. And I teach grammar for a living.

Posted by: Chupac Acabra on June 3, 2006 8:08 AM

Um, Cassidy, by your logic, it should be are.

You list the two phrases:

"one of the (bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006)"
"(one of the bands) that is part of Ozzfest 2006."*

And then say the first is the one that makes sense. But then you said it should be is?

If you want to argue "is" because simply you think it sounds fine, hey, I'll back you on that. But your logic leads to the conclusion that "are" would be correct.

Posted by: Ellen on June 3, 2006 9:15 AM

"Unfortunately, the rule is 'Parse the sentence to determine the subject of the verb, and make verb agree with the subject.' We just never learned it that way."

The rule should be, write naturally without analyzing the grammar. We shouldn't be parsing sentences as we write or speak. That makes language artificial. Spare me such.

Posted by: Ellen on June 3, 2006 9:32 AM

"No one would say Avenged Sevenfold are apart of Ozzfest."

Well, that's only because I never would be talking about Avenged Sevenfold or Ozzfest. :)

But I might say "Styx are awesome". Because, see, Styx is a band, made up of multiple members. So, Tommy Shaw is awesome, Styx are awesome. It maybe not be GC (grammatically correct), but it works for me.

Actually, it relates to what is says on that page Maria linked. When the perspective is the multiple members of the group, rather than the group as a single indivisible entity, I tend to use "are". So, Styx is a band, and Styx are awesome. :) ;)

Oh, and here's that link, for those who don't want to use Find to find Maria's post and thus the link. http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060528/FEATURES01/605280580&SearchID=73246423486091

Posted by: Ellen on June 3, 2006 9:45 AM

As Umrain Zero illustrates from diagramming the two possible sentence structures, the form of the verb that is correct depends on the precise inflection intended by the utterer.

It hinges on the restrictive/inclusive nature of the object "Ozzfest 2006"; if Ozzfest 2006 consists exclusively of bands and the speaker is remarking that Avenged Sevenfold is specifically one of them, then the "is" form, being restricive, is appropriate in that being a "part" of Ozzfest 2006 implies "one" is a "band". Conversely, if Ozzfest 2006 consists of other activities (bat-head-biting contests, a cosplay competition, air guitar exhibitions, a chili cook-off, whatever), then the "are" form, being inclusive, is approproate as "bands" are what are "part" of Ozzfest, rather than "one".

Upshot: either form may be grammatically correct depending on the precise inflection intended and whatever the heck is expected to be "part" of Ozzfest 2006.

Posted by: Bob Zmuda on June 3, 2006 12:42 PM

ARE

Posted by: Anonymous on June 3, 2006 1:31 PM

Neither. It's now "one of the bands that WAS part of Ozzfest". Or should that be "WERE part of Ozzfest"...?

Posted by: Extreme Dad on June 3, 2006 3:53 PM

is

"one of many" is singular is how my grammatician parses it

Posted by: Anonymous on June 3, 2006 4:54 PM

I am just in love with the fact that so many, many, many of us actually said, or repeated "I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one of my favorite bands, which [is|are] part of Ozzfest 2006."
God, what a bunch of trollops (I include myself, of course, since I have now said it, too).
Heh.

Posted by: Melanie in Orygun on June 3, 2006 6:24 PM

are

no brainer.

Posted by: sandy on June 3, 2006 7:33 PM

So, if this is a Fight! then who won?

Posted by: silentdibs on June 3, 2006 9:51 PM

How can there be a question about this? Is, of course! One is playing.

One are playing? That's just silly.

Posted by: Betsy on June 4, 2006 3:41 AM

Also, think of this: If you replace is/are with "forms a" or "form a" into the sentence, a la "I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one of the bands that [forms a|form a] part of Ozzfest 2006," isn't your first instinct to go with "forms a part of"? It forms, they form. Forms is singular!

I stick by is.

Posted by: Betsy on June 4, 2006 3:55 AM

You know, I can argue passionately all afternoon about the hyphenation of particular adjectives, but I just don't care about this anymore.

Posted by: Lucy on June 4, 2006 5:46 AM

It's "is". One is. Simple grammar.

Investigate no farther. Is is it.

Posted by: Ree on June 4, 2006 7:25 AM

Ellen,

In writing, you must use the correct form of the word for its use in the sentence. For example, I can't tell you whether to use "its" or "it's" unless I know what function that word has in the sentence.

"Parsing" a sentence is how you determines the use of the verb in the sentence. If you can't "hear" that "it's" is being used as the subject/verb contraction, then you'd better parse the sentence.

"Write naturally" is only a useful instruction for those who have a natural feel for the correct form of the language. With American students, you are usually better off telling them to write the way they speak to avoid that artificial awkwardness of too much grammar emphasis. However, I used to teach English to non-native speakers. "Write naturally" was absolutely useless to these students, as was "use whatever sounds better."

To me, the main point for any grammar instruction for any student is "worry about correcting the grammar after the writing is done." Writing is about communicating ideas effectively. Proofreading is about grammar.

In my classes, I usually had to force my students to stop worrying about commas and apostrophes until the paper was otherwise completed. I never correct grammar in "casual" writing, either. Unfortunately, this post specifically asked a grammar question, which required a "grammar rule" answer. When correcting grammar, you have to be able to parse a sentence.

Period.

Posted by: Dorothy on June 4, 2006 9:24 AM

Am.

Why?

Because if you're having sex with multiple partners who are in a band playing at Ozzfest, then it's high time you began rebelling in other avenues of life too, such as grammar.

Posted by: Nate on June 4, 2006 11:40 AM

feel hungry it's a hunger
That tries to keep a man awake at night
Are you the answer I shouldn't wonder
When I can feel you whet my appetite
With all the power you're releasing
It isn't safe to walk the city streets alone
Anticipation's running through me
Let's find the keys and turn the engine on.

I can feel you breathe
I can feel your heart beat faster.

Take me home tonight
I don't want to let you go till you see the light
Take me home tonight
Listen honey
Just like Ronnie sang
Be my little baby.

I get frightened in all this darkness
I get nightmares I hate to sleep alone
I need some company a guardian angel
To keep me warm when the cold winds blow.

I can feel you breathe
I can feel your heart beat faster.

Take me home tonight
I don't want to let you go till you see the light
Take me home tonight
Listen honey
Just like Ronnie sang
Be my little baby
Be my little baby.

Just like Ronnie sang
Just like Ronnie sang
Be my little baby
Be my darling
I feel a hunger
It's a hunger.

Posted by: Mark on June 4, 2006 12:48 PM

I can't read all 149 comments to see if somebody has already said this. So at the risk of being repetitious... Break it into 2 sentences. The 2nd sentence would be 'Abigail Sevenfold is one of the bands that are part of Ozifest.'

Missing in the longer compound sentence is an implied 'that is' after the band's name.

Yabba Dabba Doo!

Posted by: Fred Flintstone on June 4, 2006 8:38 PM

No problem with "is," although "one of" is arguably not the antecedent there.

But what bothers me about the test sentence is "each and every," redundant no matter how you look at it.

Posted by: Jack on June 5, 2006 10:38 AM

Take.
It should be :

I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one of the bands that take part of Ozzfest 2006.

=D

Posted by: :D on June 5, 2006 10:45 AM

Not to be a grammar wonk here :D, but that should actually be "one of the bands that will take part in Ozzfest 2006.

:)

Posted by: Darren James Harkness on June 5, 2006 10:55 AM

It can be either but most likely should be 'are'. If the phrase "that are part of..." describes all the bands, 'are' is correct. If Avenged Sevenfold is the only band of the group which is taking part, then it should be 'is'. The idea that 'one' is a subject that takes a verb is completely incorrect - it's a descriptive pronoun for Avenged Sevenfold which is the object of the pronoun 'of'.

Posted by: BleuDot on June 5, 2006 1:49 PM

One easy demonstration:

One of the bands that ARE part of Ozzfest IS Avenged Sevenfold (of which I have had sex with each and every member).

Posted by: BleuDot on June 5, 2006 1:51 PM

"Are"

And kudos to the person who brought out the 'Begs the Question' fallacy. One of my favorites. (Although, I think just because something originated one way, doesn't mean popular useage of it can't add a second meaning.)

My favorite is 'Calling the Question'. (When a party outside of the debate just gets tired of hearing the argument of the other parties, and asks the chair to take a vote to end discussion.)

Speaking of which... Matt, I'd like to call the question.

Posted by: Micah on June 5, 2006 2:35 PM

Okay, think of it this way: would you say "one of them is" or "one of them are"?

Ignore the sleeping with band members thing for a second and just focus on that.

Posted by: Defective Spork on June 5, 2006 3:34 PM

That one of are and is is right and that one of is and are is wrong are ones that are part of the ones that are right.

Posted by: Luke on June 5, 2006 4:20 PM

The portion that is set off can be thought of as an appositive. The correlation is between "one" and "is." "One" is singular and "is" is the singular form of the "be" verb. The only argument for "are" would be that everything including and after "that" is part of a relative clause referring to bands rather than one, but forcing the association with the object of a preposition doesn't seem right to me. I vote for "is."

Posted by: Ian Clifton on June 5, 2006 4:48 PM

Not to be a grammar wonk here :D, but that should actually be "one of the bands that will take part in Ozzfest 2006.

:)

Happy to be a punctuation wonk, I can't help but point out that that should actually be "one of the bands that will take part in Ozzfest 2006."

Heh.

%0

Posted by: MarkDM on June 5, 2006 7:14 PM

I think it's "is". Unless it is "are". But this question reminded me of another puzzle.

Punctuate this:

That that is is that that is not is not that that is not is not that that is that that is is not that that is not.

It can be done!

Posted by: Abracadab on June 5, 2006 8:58 PM

It definitely "is."

Posted by: mrs.bickerson on June 5, 2006 9:26 PM

I have to say, I'm astonished that people think the phrase is "one ... that is part of Ozzfest 2006." (which doesn't even make sense) vs. "one of THE BANDS THAT ARE PART OF etc." The verb clearly applies to "bands" not "one," and so should be "are."

Posted by: *** Dave on June 5, 2006 10:13 PM

one of the bands WHICH IS

one of the bands THAT ARE

In this context, I say "are." On the other hand, I'm a descriptivist, so you're all right! (And you grammar teachers, editors, etc can mix that with your appeals to authority, spread it on your hat, and eat it while you take a class in rhetoric.)

Posted by: Tim on June 5, 2006 11:50 PM

I are also one of the people that is being having sex with the bands Avenged Sevenfold terrible well. Those who is saying are are saying is someone else. He who are saying is isn't. Hopefully we will couple alone next times, irregardlessly of them (you haughty voyeurs).
The grammar is the fun.

Posted by: TMox on June 6, 2006 1:43 AM

what it all really boils down to, is what the meaning of 'is' is.

Posted by: william f'ing clinton on June 6, 2006 2:35 AM

It's interesting that the "are" people are generally laying out detailed cases, while the "is" people stick to the presence of the word "one" as all of the evidence needed.

It's even more interesting that all of the confessed converts are moving from the "is" camp to the "are" side.

That could be because it's totally "are". See Andrew's explanations above for why. (And I'll cheerfully add one more chit of former-English-teacher cred to the "are" side.)

Posted by: Brian on June 6, 2006 7:10 AM

I believe it would have to be either "a band that is" or "one of the bands that are"

But the bigger question is: Who is the groupie hoar that wrote it in the first place?

Posted by: TB on June 6, 2006 10:10 AM

Are. See Kevin's note above.

Here, simpler sentence:

These bands ARE part of Ozfest.

These bands IS part of Ozfest.

Are modifies bands, thanks to the lack of a ", which" in place of "that."

Another simplification:

This band IS among those bands that ARE part of the fest. Dig?

Posted by: Nik on June 6, 2006 11:50 AM

I have been following this line of posts ever since my English degree holding daughter called it to my attention. I will give Camelia points for knowing that it should be “is” and not “are.” The only problem with her comment is that if a person is not used to using correct grammar, it will not sound correct when spoken in the proper grammatical form. I continually have this “discussion” with my students.

I too am an English teacher who teaches on the high school/community college level and who has been proclaimed by my students to be a “grammaticaster” (use an unabridged dictionary for that one). According to both Warriner and Strunk and White, a non-essential (non-restrictive) clause is set off with commas. Since this clause is set off with commas, it is therefore considered by the original writer to be non-essential. But–whether it is essential or non-essential has no control over the correct verb form to be used in the clause. The clause’s subject is “one.” Warriner’s states that: The number of the subject is not changed by a phrase or a clause following the subject. “That” is not used as a subordinating conjunction but as a pronoun in the singular form again pointing to “is” as the correct verb.

Hopefully, this discussion will help people understand that the English language is varied and complex but not unlearnable. Split infinitives, dangling participles, misplaced modifiers and double negatives are all problems which can be corrected with a little attention to detail. All hale parallel structure!

Posted by: Mrs Huz on June 6, 2006 12:21 PM

The point, I believe is moot. Within a decade we r all going to be awash in modern internet speak, where, unfortunately, there r no places for "is" when an "R" fits the bill nicely.

Posted by: Bopa on June 6, 2006 12:24 PM

One is.

Posted by: Ryan on June 6, 2006 1:12 PM

I believe that geography ultimately determines the validity of using either “is” or “are.” Based upon your “sleeping with every member of Avenged Sevenfold” reference, there are two-ways, for example, to assess this---based upon whether UK or American-based English. Note: Most traditional “rules” regarding grammar specifically come from the UK, as they apparently spawned the language. Therefore, most references to plural band names
(such as the Smashing Pumpkins), are singular entities. This means that such band names should be followed by the word "is," and not the word "are."

One of the few exceptions to the rule is when using the band name to refer to the individuals in it. "Are" should also never follow the band name if the last word in the name is plural and it is not a collective term (such as Alice in Chains).

Posted by: Mr. Agile on June 6, 2006 1:13 PM

The subject is "one" but it's from a set of many - "bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006". Consider if we change the number from "one" to "two":

"... ,two of the bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006".

Or "none":

"... ,none of the bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006".

If you think the subject is "one of the bands" then I guess you could argue "is" but who writes sentences like that?!

Posted by: David Again on June 6, 2006 2:27 PM

My sis has been a teacher for sixteen years and considers herself quite the grammar expert; she initially came down on the side of "is" but I managed to convince her that it's "are". Let's see if I can lay out my logic here.

First of all, the clause in question (the part following the comma) is a non-defining or nonrestrictive relative clause; it is not critical to the point of the sentence ("I have had sex with..." but rather provides supplemental information).

Examples of restrictive vs. nonrestrictive clauses would be:

"The color blue which matches my wifes eyes is the color I want my house painted" - restrictive, defines a specific color blue.

"The color blue, which is very pretty, is the color I want my car painted." This is nonrestrictive; the clause that follows "which" is supplemental and does not provide defining information about the color blue.

The clause in question uses a Ø, or implied, relative pronoun - if the relative pronoun were used it would likely be "which is" - i.e., "...Avenged Sevenfold, which is one of the bands...". As a nonrestrictive clause it is offset by a comma.

"One of" is a quantifier of a sort that must always be followed by countable plural nouns (other examples of this kind of quantifier would include "both of/certain of/either of/few of"). In this case the plural noun is "bands".

This gets into traditional rules, but I think the answer hinges on this: in proper grammar, the word "that" (in this usage) is ALWAYS restrictive: it MUST be used to provide critical defining information, as opposed to nonrestrictive or nondefining. And the antecedent almost always directly precedes it. In other words, what follows the word "that" MUST BE critical defining information, and will apply to the word immediately preceding it. In this case, the antecedent is "bands" (not "one") and the restrictive, defining information is that they writer is speaking specifically about "bands that are a part of Ozzfest".

And even if one were to ignore the requirement that "that" be restrictive/defining this would still fail, as nonrestrictive relative pronouns must be separated by a comma or commas. There is no comma separating "one" from "that is/are".

Ultimately, there's really no question that the subject of the verb in question is "bands", not "one".

To make it just a slight bit easier to see, you can add some enhancing words that don't change the structure but emphasize what needs to be:

"I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, (which is) one of [the many bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006.]"

Posted by: SMurph on June 6, 2006 3:06 PM

it's is

Posted by: gingdawn on June 6, 2006 3:19 PM

Short of rewriting the sentence, which is not the point of this discussion, there appears to be no correct answer. I only wish that conscience could be reached, but, as you have learned from all of this, there will be no agreement--all have agreed to disagree.

But, if you were one of my students, you had better use is.

Posted by: Mrs Huz on June 6, 2006 6:00 PM

We need a Supreme Court of the English language here...no, how about President Bush? Isn't he the Decider or, maybe, aren't he the Decider???
Is our children learning?

Posted by: Mom and Dad on June 6, 2006 8:09 PM

I find it puzzling that anyone would think that "one" is the subject (or antecendent) of "that [is|are]".

I find it sadly pathetic that an English teacher would think this.

It seems to me that "is" can't be defended other than by "forget logic and do what sounds good to you". Assuming you are a native speaker and not an English language learner.

So, if you like "is", say it's "is", but don't make yourself look silly with flawed logic in defense of "is".

Posted by: Ellen on June 6, 2006 8:28 PM

Direct quote from William Strunk Jr's "Elements of Style" (which I just happen to have on hand):

"9. The number of the subject determines the number of the verb.

...

A common blunder is the use of a singular verb form in a relative clause following "one of..." or a similar expression when the relative is the subject.

Incorrect: One of the ablest scientists who has attacked this problem

Correct: One of the abelest scientists who have attacked this problem"

Thusly, ARE!

Posted by: K.T. Slager on June 6, 2006 8:39 PM

"One of the bands that IS..."

Posted by: Marian on June 6, 2006 9:41 PM

"...one of the bands that [is|are] part of Ozzfest 2006."

At first glance, if you take out the prepositional phrases "of the bands" and "of Ozzfest 2006", what you have left is 'one that is part'. But . . .

After further analysis, "that" is a relative pronoun, but is it referring to "one" or "bands"? Restrictive relative clauses are linked to the word that proceeds it. So you would write:
"one of the boxes that are open" (correct)
instead of:
"one of the boxes that is open" (incorrect)

So in conclusion, 'one of the bands that are part of Ozzfest 2006' is grammatically correct.

Not an English major, but I do a spot of writing from time to time. I didn't proofread this comment, so feel free to critique for errors.

Posted by: Chris on June 7, 2006 6:12 AM

...one of the bands playing at...
admit that you don't know, and construct the sentence to eliminate the problem

Posted by: Anonymous on June 7, 2006 8:55 AM

So, I didn't have anything of interest to add to this debate, so I thought I'd go to the experts at Language Log

Here's the reply I got (capitalization issues are all his):

a well-known issue in usage, under discussion since at least 1770; the singular version has been around at least since Shakespeare, and some writers use both versions. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage has an excellent entry on it, under "one of those who".

i doubt that we'd have much to add to the MWDEU entry. (i'd be the most likely blogger to take it on, though mark, geoff p., and geoff n. would also be appropriate.) the only spin on it that i can see is the durability of some usage issues, and their discussion in all sorts of places that aren't directly concerned with language. i might get some mileage out of that.

in any case, thanks for the pointer.

-arnold zwicky

Prof. Zwicky has a rather impressive list of credentials, so I figure we can follow his advice. Anybody have a copy of the MWDEU? Seems to me that both are correct, for all the reasons stated above. This doesn't surprise me, because the English language hates clear-cut grammatical issues.

Posted by: deadlytoque on June 7, 2006 12:10 PM

"Are" is the correct verb, and the question is not as complex as people are making it out to be. The subject of the subordinate clause "that [is|are] part of Ozzfest 2006" is the relative pronoun "that," which takes on the number of whatever noun it is referring to. In this case, it refers to the "bands."

To write "one of the bands that is part of Ozzfest 2006" would be incorrect and would at best imply that Avenged Sevenfold is part of Ozzfest while the other bands are not. People are correct that "bands" cannot be the subject of a verb (because it is the object of the preposition "of"), but that is irrelevant here.

Posted by: kermitsdog on June 7, 2006 12:34 PM

IS!

Posted by: Anabel on June 7, 2006 1:09 PM

I can't believe anyone is seriously arguing in favor of "is".

Surely, you're joking.

Right?

Right?


...please?

Posted by: bp on June 7, 2006 1:36 PM

Not that this is the greatest acid test in the world, but Word seems to think the correct verb tense is "are."

I simplified the sentence to this:

Sevenfold is one of the bands that is/are part of Ozzfest.

If you use "is," you get the green squiggly underline that says it's a grammatical error. Oddly enough, if you use a two-word band name (Avenged Sevenfold), Word seems to be happy with either verb tense. Don't ask me why!

Posted by: Meg on June 7, 2006 1:57 PM

"Are" : the sentence refers to several bands that are playing at Ozzfest. If "the bands" referred to some previously-defined set of bands of which only one (Avenged Sevenfold) would be playing at Ozzfest, then you could make a case for "is". But that isn't the case.

Are.

Posted by: Rob on June 7, 2006 3:24 PM

Why do I have the impression that Matthew is reading all these comments and giggling?

Posted by: SMurph on June 7, 2006 4:33 PM

I can't help wondering if he made a bet with someone about how many replies he could get to one blog post. :)

Posted by: Ellen on June 7, 2006 8:17 PM

subject of the clause is not "bands (plural) but "one of the bands" (singular)

Thank you!

Posted by: Toadmonster on June 7, 2006 9:50 PM

one of the bands that ARE. no contest, no argument, that's the way it IS, bro.

Posted by: wsb on June 8, 2006 12:45 AM

I think we can safely discard anything that MS Word tells us, except for: "it looks like you're trying to have sex with every member of a band at Ozzfest." (See this article for more info.)

Posted by: Tim on June 8, 2006 1:07 AM

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003237.html

I brought this little dogfight to the experts, and the experts have spoke.

Posted by: deadlytoque on June 8, 2006 7:03 AM

What does the sentence mean?

Bands are at Ozfest? or
Avenged Sevenfold is at Ozfest?

Choose your meaning, and that determines your verb choice.

Posted by: Rocky on June 8, 2006 8:49 AM

I vote for "is":

It is singular because it needs to agree with "one"--"one is" not "one are." The next part of the sentence is a prepositional phrase, and therefore can be deleted.

Anyway, we could just end it right now by editing it to the short and snappy "I have had sex."

Posted by: wen on June 8, 2006 9:42 AM

People. I'm guessing he's not going to post again until this stops. Please. For the love of god. Stop. Unless you want this wonderful, funny, well-written blog to become...a grammar blog.

Is that what you want? Is it? IS IT?

Posted by: LizRM on June 8, 2006 8:22 PM

I'm hoping as soon as he hits 200 comments, he'll shut this one down and start posting again. This is 199!

Can we get a Squirrely Update?
How's The Queen doing?
Know any good board games?

Posted by: Dorothy on June 9, 2006 6:25 AM


200! And it's "IS", and I vote for content!!

Posted by: Sud on June 9, 2006 6:28 AM

201, more than enough comments for Matt. Now let's all agree on "are" and move on. Matt, bring on the new posts!

Posted by: Crash on June 9, 2006 7:53 AM

I think this is one of those British English / American English convention differences. If you simplify the sentence to just "Avenged Sevenfold is part of Ozzfest," or "Avenged Sevenfold are part of Ozzfest," either one sounds correct (to me, at least).

There can be two different interpretations, though. Either "[the band] Avenged Sevenfold is part of Ozzfest," or "[the members of the band] Avenged Sevenfold are part of Ozzfest."

I think both are correct, it's just a matter of whether you're interpreting the band as singular (the band) or plural (the members of the band).

Posted by: Feaverish on June 9, 2006 8:43 AM

Okay, my English teacher girlfriend just set me straight. It doesn't simplify to "Avenged Sevenfold is/are part of Ozzfest." The phrase is "one of the bands that is/are part of Ozzfest," and only "is" works in that phrase.

"One" can only use the verb "is," so "is" is correct.

Posted by: Feaverish on June 9, 2006 8:46 AM

Urg... you "is" people are really convincing me to change my mind from neutrality to the "are" came.

Posted by: Ellen on June 9, 2006 9:02 AM

Please everyone! I urge you to calm down! America is still recovering from the last great social controversy from the mid 80's.

I can't tell you how many friends and family I've lost due to my radical "Less Filling!" views.


Posted by: Ryan on June 9, 2006 9:09 AM

Is.

Although that might depend on what your definition if is, is.

Posted by: Jim on June 9, 2006 9:53 AM

On NPR the other day, they said "are" in a similar situation.

Posted by: Rachel on June 9, 2006 11:39 AM

Feaverish: the is/are doesn't refer to the "one". It refers to the "bands that are part of Ozzfest". Avenged Sevenfold is one of those bands, but the verb doesn't refer to Avenged Sevenfold.

Posted by: Andrew on June 10, 2006 3:06 AM

I think you should rephrase the orignal comment and better yet, just send me the link to the recorded live feed! Thank you in advance.

Posted by: dirtyfungirl on June 10, 2006 10:54 PM

LizRM,
when you said, "Is that what you want? Is it? IS IT?"

didn't you mean, "Are that what you want?"

Posted by: josh on June 10, 2006 11:13 PM

IS!!

I'll just make a big old argument for 'is', because I'm too lazy to see whether someone else already did.

A verb must agree with the subject of a clause. "One" is the subject of this clause, so the verb must be singular to agree with it. "Bands" is the object of the preposition "of", and verbs need never agree with objects.

Fun fun.

Posted by: Jaimie on June 10, 2006 11:57 PM

Dammit. I did read a bunch of the comments and I'm on the fence.

the relative clause marker "that" is actually the subject of the verb in question, not "one"; it depends on whether "that" refers to "one" or "bands", because as others pointed out, it could go either way.

Now I'm leaning towards are.

Posted by: Jaimie on June 11, 2006 12:04 AM

Nice. Throw us nerds a bone like this, and you don't have to make any new posts for over a week.

Posted by: James on June 11, 2006 8:51 AM

I'm re-posting deadlytongue's link, because it should shut us all up. This argument has been going on for HUNDREDS OF YEARS. This disagreement is a pit from which we can never escape! Run!

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003237.html

Posted by: Squidocto on June 11, 2006 9:06 AM

Please take it easy on the grammar, people geeeeeezzz. We knew what he meant, thats all that matters!!

Posted by: Alice on June 11, 2006 5:16 PM

After much thought, I retract my statement of "is" and change it to "are." But I agree with one of the statements up there, just take out the is/are, make it "one of the bands playing at.." and eliminate the problem!

Posted by: jo on June 11, 2006 10:18 PM

"I have had sex with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold, one of the bands that shouldn't be part of Ozzfest 2006."
I think that would sound better.

Posted by: Martin on June 12, 2006 1:39 AM

it's unqestionably "is" because you are talking about a band in the singular ("one"). But each is every, so "each and every" has to be rephrased to destroy redundancy.

Posted by: scott Partee on June 12, 2006 10:30 AM

I'm a bit behind, but the correct answer is "is". Unquestionably. End of discussion.

As I'm far to lazy to read through all 200 comments, you oughta post a recap. From what I saw just glancing through, the ises have it.

Posted by: petitchou on June 12, 2006 11:25 AM

IS, without a doubt.

Posted by: ALG on June 12, 2006 12:05 PM

Someone DID NOT just diagram that sentence. Like, in a real diagram.

Posted by: Buffy on June 12, 2006 1:13 PM

It amazes me the number of people who say something like "the answer is *is*" and fail to give any sort of reasoning. The majority of reasoning that is given is along the lines of "singular because it's one band".

This is totally incorrect - the sentence is talking about plural things (bands) that are part of a collection (Ozzfest). This highlights the inappropriate tendency of some people to parse everything left-to-right rather than considering the sentence as a whole.

"one" does not apply to "bands". In this sentence, "one" applies to "bands that are part of Ozzfest". It doesn't matter if it's one, two, none or many - it has no effect at all on the use of the word 'that' in this context.

So stop going with your gut instinct and choosing "is" because it sounds right and you can't be bothered thinking about it, because it makes you look stupid.

Posted by: David Once More on June 12, 2006 3:23 PM

Doesn't it depend on the speaker's intention? There are so many definite answers in these comments, but has anyone asked Matthew what he means? He could mean “one of the bands that [the band] is part of Ozzfest 2006,” or he could mean “one of the bands that [the bands] are part of Ozzfest 2006.” There may grammatical rules which tell you how to say what you mean, but that hasn’t (ever) stopped people from saying things however they want. Personally, I think understanding is more important than technical detail (though not always, like if you're building a balcony). So: wh’a’ch’a mean, dude? (A rhetorical question: I know he stopped reading the comments after the first few.)

Posted by: TMox on June 12, 2006 4:11 PM

Is. Wow. I can't believe no one has answered this question yet.

Kidding.

Posted by: Jenny on June 12, 2006 4:21 PM

Red herrings:

"It should be 'is' because it needs to agree with 'one.'"
Nope. The dependent clause "that will be playing in Ozzfest '06" refers to "bands," not "one." Avenged Sevenfold is one member of a group of BANDS. What group of bands? The bands that are playing in Ozzfest '06.

"It's 'is' in American English, but 'are' in British English, because the two dialects have different rules about how to treat collective nouns."
Nope. Again, this would only be an issue if the clause referred to "Avenged Sevenfold" (or "one"), but it does not. It refers to "bands."

It's "are." If the above arguments don't sway you, scroll up a bit for a citation from The Elements of Style, the end-all authority on grammar and usage. Or the handful of other sources that have been cited.

I swear: this is like the Monty Hall problem all over again. Two hours of arguing with someone, then a reluctant concession. Then, one day, it comes up in conversation, and you're talking to someone who hasn't heard the problem yet... repeat. Ad infinitum.

Posted by: Andrew Dupont on June 12, 2006 6:46 PM

Oh, Mr. Yeti, please take mercy on us and put up a new post... c'mon - tell us about Yahtzee, or maybe that new D20 system my friend pointed out to me based on erotic encounters in the D&D world (to quote Dave Barry, I am not making this up). Or, uh, what's your opinion of Conga (by the Cranium guys)?
No more is/are... oh pleeeeze...

Posted by: Melanie on June 12, 2006 9:25 PM

> Punctuate this:
> That that is is that that is not is not that that is not is not that that is that that is is not that that is not.

That that is, is. That that is not, is not. That that is not, is not that that is. That that is, is not that that is not.

Q.E.D.

Posted by: Big Bobby O on June 12, 2006 10:34 PM

Wow. I can't believe so much time, effort, brain cycles, and even typing has been wasted on such a poorly-constructed sentence.

As some have indicated, the problem is the phrase:

"one of the bands that [is|are] part of Ozzfest 2006"

Does he mean that one band is part of Ozzfest 2006, or that all of bands are part of Ozzfest? (Yes, it's a music festival, but the bands could be just one part of the festival, because one could argue that the fans are also "part" of the festival, just as are the urinal cakes.)

And who really knows what YetiMan meant? (That's a rhetorical question. Don't make me get all hermeneutical on you.)

Posted by: johan on June 12, 2006 11:25 PM

I think too much...

I think that, even though one wouldn't say "the bands that is playing at...", still, even though it's saying that they are one of a group of bands, all of which are playing at Ozzfest, one can say "one of the bands that is playing at...", if one is particularly emphasizing that Avenged Sevenfold is playing at Ozzfest, and not that there are other bands as well.

Descriptive linguistics ain't simple. It's one thing to observe what people say -- and lots of folks think "is" fits -- it's another to say why that's so -- and lots of folks have done a really bad job of trying to say why "is" works.

Posted by: Ellen on June 13, 2006 9:55 AM

The proper thing to say is that I have MADE LOVE with each and every member of Avenged Sevenfold.

Posted by: wanamingo on June 13, 2006 11:19 AM

Way to prove that people are dogmatic and contentious about... well, just about anything you can be dogmatic and contentious about.

I'm just thankful that I managed to avoid all of you "English teachers" or "editors" who think it has to be one way or the other. I would've been closer to pulling a Columbine if I'd to deal with your b*s* in my schooling. It's either, as Prof. Zwicky suggests. It changes the intent and content, but either form creates a proper sentence.

So if I tell you you're both right, will you pat yourselves on the back and shut the f* up?

--Ian

Posted by: Ian Quinn on June 14, 2006 3:22 AM

is! is! is!

Posted by: christina on June 14, 2006 11:29 AM

It would be 'are' as the 'that' refers to the bands in plural.

i.e.: the bands that are part of Ozzfest

not: the bands that is part of Ozzfest

Posted by: Bill McGee on June 16, 2006 3:17 AM

Avenged Sevenfold sucks.

Posted by: hhh on June 16, 2006 1:32 PM

IS

Posted by: yomomma_d on June 16, 2006 3:39 PM

Mac Mini Hacks http://www.mac-mini-hacks.com/

Posted by: Mac Mini Hacks on June 19, 2006 8:27 AM

IS!

Posted by: maarmie on June 19, 2006 1:24 PM