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The four below sentences appear in today's article “Von Dürre betroffener Landwirt. "Beschissen wäre geprahlt"” from Der Spiegel:

Nachdenklich schaut Stegen [a German farmer] über sein Feld. Die Sonne brennt vom Himmel. Es ist noch früh am Tag und trotzdem schon 30 Grad heiß. Bis zu 36 Grad werden es an diesem Julitag werden.

Why Bis zu 36 Grad werden es in the last sentence above and not Bis zu 36 Grad wird es? I don't know how to explain it, but werden es in this particular case does not read well to me.

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"Bis zu 36 Grad werden es" is correct as "36 Grad" is plural.

The Duden gives the examples "es waren 35 Grad [Celsius] im Schatten" and "draußen herrschten 25 Grad Wärme, Kälte".Grad, der (2.)

If you add "warm" it has to be "Bis zu 36 Grad warm wird es" as "warm" is now the Prädikativum and 36 Grad is an attribute of "warm".

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  • @EugeneStr. - but, of course, singular for one degree: in dieser Nacht war es 1 Grad. – mic Dec 12 '19 at 10:06
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Why "Bis zu 36 Grad werden es" in the last sentence above and not "Bis zu 36 Grad wird es"?

That's because the werden refers to the "Grad". "Grad" is the same word, in singular and in plural and it is the subject of the sentence, which the verb relates to.

If you use

Bis zu 36 Grad heiß wird es an diesem Julitag werden.

then the wird refers to the "es" and is in singular.

But you might also get away with "Bis zu 36 Grad wird es an diesem Julitag werden.", because it can refer to an implied "heiß" or the "Temperatur" as a noun.

If you change the order to

An diesem Julitag wird es bis zu 36 Grad werden.

it gets more cleary wrong, while

An diesem Julitag wird es bis zu 36 Grad heiß werden.

sounds right.

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The sentence is sloppy at the best, as can be seen at the similar:

Bis zu 10 Minuten dauert es....

where the plural would more clearly seem wrong. The given sentence would also be more clean, if it would read:

Bis zu 36 Grad warm wird es...

since it is then a simple measurement scale specification. The other argument for the singular is that es is the subject. But as it stands, it is somewhat gray area and the plural is only justified by being more than one Grad.

Summarized: feel free to use the singular instead (I consider it as better), adding warm gives bonus points.

Update:

The situation allows different approaches, each of which has supporters, see this canoo.net post

Canoo.net also explains

Männliche und sächliche Maß-, Mengen- und Münzbezeichnungen werden im Nominativ Singular gebraucht, wenn sie hinter einer Zahlenangabe stehen...

So in contrast to some other answers: Grad is masculine, and so the singular is perfectly legal.

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  • Cannot downvote, but this is plain wrong! – user33621 Jul 30 '18 at 16:39
  • @FredBob: Comments which claim to have found errors without specifying them are useless. – guidot Jul 31 '18 at 7:28
  • As stated in RHa's answer, the Duden gives examples of the same form. Therefore I see no reason to call them sloppy. "Bis zu 36 Grad wird es werden." is wrong. Your update from Canoo.net is about Grad itself and means that you don't say "36 Grade", but "36 Grad". – RoyPJ Jul 31 '18 at 9:30
  • Du kannst die Verben "dauern" und "werden" nicht auf diese Weise miteinander vergleichen, da sie syntaktisch anders verbunden werden. Ein sinnvolles Beispiel, das den Plural bei "36 Grad werden es" erklärt ist dieses: "Aus diesen Samen werden 36 Blumen." => "Es werden 36 Blumen." => "36 Blumen werden es." – user33621 Jul 31 '18 at 13:15
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    guidot, niemand behauptet, dass der Singular falsch sei. Aber das Verb im Beispielsatz ist im Plural, also ist auch sein Bezugswort im Plural, also ist "Grad" im Beispiel nicht Singular sondern Plural. Der Beispielsatz ist nicht "sloppy", wie du behauptest, sondern korrektes Deutsch. – user33621 Jul 31 '18 at 13:32
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"36 Grad" is plural.

Note how in English ("36 degrees") and Russian ("36 градусов") you also use plural.

"Grad" commonly has no plural ending. There is "Grade", but that is uncommon in this phrase.


To better understand the phrase "36 Grad werden es", think of an example with a noun with a plural form that is more clearly different from the singular, such as "Blumen" (Flowers):

Diese Samen werden 36 Blumen.        (These seeds will turn into 36 flowers.)
Es (= diese Samen) werden 36 Blumen. (replace "diese Samen" with "es")
36 Blumen werden es.                 (rearrange the sentence)

You will note how "Blumen" is plural. Just as "Grad" is plural.


Of course it is correct to use the singular as well:

36 Grad wird es an diesem Julitag werden.

Here, both the verb ("werden") and the noun ("Grad") are in the singular, although the number is not distinct from the plural in the latter.

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  • This is somewhat debatable see update of my answer. – guidot Jul 31 '18 at 7:29

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