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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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