What exactly is the subject of the sentence? It is the thing doing the verb. While this may seem obvious, there is a grammatical concept called fronting in which information, usually in the form of words that describe the actual subject, are put before the subject. To complicate matters the subject is after the verb. What happens is our brain naturally wants to pair the information at the front of the sentence with the verb.
If you are unsure if “fronting” is occurring, ask yourself, “What is doing the verb?” Below are a few examples.
Near the waterfront is/are two restaurants, both of which offer first class dining.
Waterfront is not the subject. There is no verb that it relates to. Had the sentence said, “The waterfront is dazzling” we could easily answer the question, “What is dazzling?” The waterfront. Therefore, it is the subject.
With the sentence above, what is near the waterfront? Ah, two restaurants are.
Now a more complex example:
Discussed avidly amongst fans is/are her latest release, which promises to elaborate upon many of the unresolved plots line from her previous works.
Fans are not the subject. To find the subject take the part of the sentence that is “fronting” and ask, “What is discussed avidly?” Ah, her latest release. Therefore, we want the verb “is.”
Watch a video recap of this here:
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