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The number of pupils is increasing.
The number of pupils are increasing.
A number of pupils are absent today.
A number of pupils is absent today.

When we precede number by the it denotes a unit and is singular. When it's preceded by a it means several or many and is plural.

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Keith complains that his wages are low
Keith complains that his wage is low.

Wages is a plural noun and takes a plural verb. We say: a living wage.

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Bread is sold at the baker's.
Breads are sold at the baker's.

We can say a loaf of bread and loaves of bread: I bought a loaf (two, three, etc.,loaves] of bread.

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Tom as well as Mark are coming.
Tom as well as Mark is coming.

Two singular nouns joined by as well as require the verb to be singular.

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English are easier than German.
English is easier than German.

Names of languages are singular and always take a singular verb.

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