Subject – Verb Agreement

| November 9, 2010 | 0 Comments

I – The subject and verb must agree in number:  both must be singular, or both must be plural.

Example:

The choir sings.

The children sing.

II – Compound subjects (more than one subject) are joined by “and.”  Since there are two subjects, they must be plural.

Example:

Steak and chicken are on the menu today.

III – The indefinite pronouns anyone, everyone, someone, no one, nobody are always singular and, therefore, require singular verbs.

Example:

Everyone has done his or her homework.

IV – Two or more singular nouns or pronouns are connected by or or  nor, use a singular verb.

Example:

The book or the pen is in the draw.

V – Compound subject contains both a singular and a plural noun or pronoun joined by or or nor, the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is nearer the verb.

Example:

The boys or the girl runs everyday.

VI – The relative pronouns (who, whom, which, and that) are either singular or plural, depending on the words they refer to.

Example:

The sales manager is a good researcher who spends a great amount of time surfing the web for information.

VII – Collective nouns are words that imply more than one person but are considered singular and take a singular verb, such as: group, team, committee, class and family.

Example:

The family is going to church.

VIII – Words starting amount of time, money, measurement, etc are usually singular.  Plural nouns describing a mass, a quantity or a number require a singular verb when the subject is regarded as a unit.

Example:

Fifty dollars is too much for her allowance.

IX – Book titles are singular even if they are plural in form.

Example:

Short Stories for Boys is worth reading.

X – Expressions such as with, together with, including, accompanied by, in addition to, or as well do not change the number of the subject.  If the subject is singular, the verb is too.

Example:

All of the books, including yours, are in that box.

XI – The indefinite pronouns: both, few, many, and several are plural and require a plural verb.

Example:

Many students understand the lesson.

XII – Indefinite pronouns: most, some, none, part, any and all can be treated as either singular or plural depending upon what they refer to within the context of the sentence.

Example:

Most of the people are happy with the team.

XIII – The words there and here are never subjects.

Example:

Here is the book you ordered.

XIV – When the modifying words:  each, any or every precede the subject or subjects, the whole unit is considered singular and requires a singular verb.

Example:

Every man, woman, and child has a name.

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Category: Communication Skills

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