Learn English – Should “is” or “are” be used in this sentence?

grammatical-numberverb-agreement

"One example I can think of is the expiration labels on food."

It seems like you should say "is" because "example" is a singular noun, but the sentence sounds weird to me for some reason. Maybe "the" should be removed?

Best Answer

Although it's correct to use is (because example is singular and you would never say one example are), what may be making it sound odd to you is the use of expiration labels (plural).

However, expiration dates aren't always the only thing on a food label. In fact, such dates are sometimes not even printed on labels at all but in ink straight onto the packaging.

It's also possible that you could discuss a singular referent.

Therefore, there are a few ways around this if you want to slightly rephrase the sentence it's still correct but doesn't sound a little strange:

One example I can think of is an expiration label on food.
One example I can think of is the expiration date on food labels.
One example I can think of is the expiration date on food packaging.

Without knowing the context of the text into which the sentence will fit, it's possible that any or all of these versions would be acceptable.