Relation between Subject & Verbs
Subject and Verbs
- A sentence must have the subject and the verb. Usually, the subject is a noun or a pronoun—a phrase or a word that names a person, place, or thing. The verb denotes an action or a state of being.
- A subject is a person who performs the action. In contrast, the verb is an action done by the subject.
What is the relation between Subject and Verbs?
The verb (or the predicate) follows the subject. Remember that the subject is what the sentence is about, and the verb refers to what the subject does or is.
What is the Subject-Verb Agreement?
- Subject-verb agreement refers to the grammar rule that the subject of a sentence must agree with the main verb of that very sentence.
- A subject and the verb of a sentence should agree in number.
Basic Rules of Subject Verb Agreement
Let us take a look at the subject-verb agreement rules below.
- When a singular subject is used, the verb used in the sentence will be singular too.
- In case when the subject is plural, the same form of the verb is written (plural form) i.e without an ‘s’ at the end of the verb.
- When the subject of the sentence includes two or more nouns or pronouns connected by and, use a plural verb.
- When there is one subject and more than one verb, the verbs throughout the sentence must agree with the subject.
- When a phrase (group of words) is written between the subject and verb, the verb still agrees with the main subject and not the noun or pronoun in the phrase following the subject of the sentence.
- Use a singular verb when two or more singular nouns or pronouns are connected by ‘or’ ‘nor’
- The words and phrases ‘each’, ‘each one’, ‘either’, ‘neither’, ‘everyone’, ‘everybody’, ‘anyone’, ‘anybody’, ‘nobody’, ‘somebody’, ‘someone’ and ‘no-one’ are singular and require a singular verb.
- Uncountable nouns usually use a singular verb.
Note: The Subject of the sentence is shown as S and the verb as V.
1. The general rule of a singular verb used only if the subject is singular, and plural if the subject is plural.
However, in sentences that begin with ‘there is’ or, ‘there are’, the subject is placed after the verb. Since ‘there is’ is not a subject, the verb agrees with the subject that follows a verb.
The word ‘Games’ is the subject of the above sentence, and it’s plural, so the plural verb ‘are’ is needed to be grammatically correct.
2. Another exception to the previous rule. If the list contains singular or plural nouns, the verb that precedes agrees with the first noun in the list.
- There is a cupboard, a table and a suitcase on the table.
- There are a cupboard, a table and a suitcase on the table.
But it sounds odd to have ‘are’ next to the singular noun phrase on a cupboard. The verb ‘is’ would sound ideal here.
Though both the sentences are correct, the second one is usually followed by many as it sounds more usual. Thus, when the subject after ‘there is’ or ‘there are’ is a list of items, make the verb agree with the first noun in the list.