Stephen King is asking for grammar help on Twitter
Top-selling, highly prolific and award-winning writer Stephen King reached out for writing help on Twitter. In doing so, he addressed a mystery.
King, whose works include “The Shining,” “Misery” and “It,” suggested Sunday night that the country needs more films featuring tap dancing.
“What America needs are more tap-dancing movies,” King tweeted. “You can’t be sad when there’s tap-dancing going on.”
About an hour later, the 73-year-old horror author followed up his statement with a question.
How many times have we fallen for this?
Unable to let it go, King then called for assistance.
“Help me, Grammar Police,” he wrote.
Sure enough, his Twitter followers responded to his 911. One King fan, describing themselves as an “aspiring writer” weighed in, thinking “Is” is correct.
“Yes, ‘is’ would be correct, due to ‘America’ being a singular noun,” offered Twitter user Race Leto. “Funny how it works that way, considering it is proper to say, ‘You are my idol.’ Which, you are.”
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“if you say, ‘What America needs are (these:) more tap dancing movies,’ you are golden,” tweeted Verity Steam. “I am not sure that ‘what’ is relegated to the singular, but if you leave it off, it loses the beautiful emphasis. It becomes more stark.”
Comic book fan and Twitter user Sherry Lucich also thinks “are” is the way to go.
“To humbly offer my editing skills, you were correct the first time with ‘are,’ since the noun ‘movies’ is plural,” she wrote.
Several respondents told King that more books from him is, or are, what America needs. A King follower tweeting from @feistsheindlin1 answered the call for assistance as well.
“Needs goes with America and is/are is determined by the singular or plural noun following. What America needs is a dog. What America needs are dogs,” she wrote. “Officer Karen McKaren of the Karen Grammar Police reporting for duty.”
An editor with one prominent publisher called the issue an “eternally thorny point” and directed the Daily News to the grammar site Grammarphobia, which uses, as an example, the sentence “Books are what makes you smarter.”
According to that resource: “It’s our feeling that two singular verbs are more natural than two plural verbs when the complement — even though formally plural like ‘books’ — represents a singular concept. So we’d choose ‘What makes you smarter is books.’”
Grammarphobia also notes the word “what” can be construed as singular or plural.
|By BRIAN NIEMIETZ||NEW YORK DAILY NEWS||https://www.nydailynews.com/snyde/ny-stephen-king-grammar-twitter-help-police-20210315-lxli33iy5jd27lsistv2bxmwfy-story.html||MARCH 15, 2021|