I think it is like in English: ‘There is a table and four chairs in the room’ - we also use Singular although we are speaking about several objects.
But: ‘There are four chairs and a table in the room’ - here we use Plural because immediately after the verb we have a noun in Plural.
So it would be in plural in German in this case: Auf vielen Bergen liegen Steine und Eis
“Da ist ein Tisch und vier Stühle im Raum.” is not correct.
Correct is “Da sind ein Tisch und vier Stühle im Raum.”
The difference is that “Schnee und Eis” is a set expression (a term). And therefore you can use the singular: “Schnee und Eis liegt auf den Bergen.” This doesn’t work for all nouns that are used with “und”. It only works for set expressions.
In the link I’ve given above you’ll find more examples.
Vielen, vielen Dank!!! Ausgezeichnet Thanks to all for an excellent discussion of this problem.
I have decided that my German friends are just plain and simple more clever and smarter that I will ever be with regard to grammar and how to create meaning with words. I appreciate everyone adding perspective on the issue. My problem was that I can see the solution both ways, as Vera pointed out, but I certainly better understand the issue from a German perspective. It should be less problematic now for me in the future. The real trick here is grasping the subject clearly for such a sentence. I am slow getting this but it is one thing that fascinates me about the German language—it is rich and powerful and full of wonder—from my perspective.
The subject of the sentence is “das ganze Jahr”, not “Schnee und Eis”. The whole year is singular. Liegen would not be correct in this sentence for that reason. “Ûber Schnee und Eis” is where the whole year lies, not the other way around. The whole year lying in snow and ice on many mountains of the Alps. It is confusing I know, but this distinction is very important imo
Hmm, interesting conception, but I really don’t think this can be right!? I’m pretty sure one might say things like “Schnee lag auf dem Boden” or “Es liegt Eis auf der Straße”, etc?? So it kind of has to be the ice and snow which is doing the funky action here, doesn’t it?
It is correct. Subjects cannot be preceded by prepositional words like “über”. It is pretty clear to me that “Über Schnee und Eis” cannot be the subject of the sentence as it describes where the subject is. It might make more sense to english speakers if you rearrange things like this: “Das ganze Jahr liegt über Schnee und Eis auf vielen Bergen der Alpen”. You can also change the position of Über Schnee und Eis to the beginning of the sentence and Auf Vielen Bergen der Alpen to the end.
Of course, there are a lot of cases when “die deutschen Präposuitionen” take the place after a noun:
den ganzen Tag über, die Nacht über, den Winter über, meiner Meinung nach, das ganze Jahr entlang.
Es gibt auch so genannte Doppelpräpositionen: Von Anfang an, von dieser Zeit an etc.
The explanation von Vera about some set expressions is correct in this case.
“Schnee und Eis” is here like an inseparable object, that’s why the verb in singular is used .