Concept: Subject-Verb Agreement
Each sentence follows certain rules with the number of verbs and nouns. This agreement of number between the subject and verb is known as subject-verb agreement.
Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement
- Usually, a singular subjectneeds a singular verb, whereas a plural subject takes a plural verb.
- When there are two or more subjects separated by a conjunction, the verb should be plural.
- The teacher and his studentsattendthe workshop every Monday.
- Mohit and Shayamplayfootball every Sunday.
- Nancy, Molly and Jacky eat ice-creams after lunch.
- If the subjects together mean one specific thing, class or type, then we use a singular verb.
- If both the subjects have separate articles, then the verb has to be a plural one.
- The principal and the director of the school were present in the meeting today.
- When there is any phrase starting with ‘of’ between the subject and the verb, irrespective of the noun or pronoun in the phrase, the verb will still behave according to the subject.
- When two subjects are connected by ‘either-or’, or ‘neither-nor’,theverb agrees to the nearest noun or pronoun.
- When sentences begin with ‘here’ or ‘there’, we should identify the main subject and use the verb accordingly. In this sentence, the subject could be written after the verb.
- Here are the books that you ordered from the store.
- There lies the umbrella.
- Indefinite pronouns like any, some, and much need a singular verb when they join with an uncountable noun but a plural verb when they join with countable nouns.
- Some water is lost in the process.
- Some of the marbles are red in colour.
- Collective nouns can take either singular or plural verbs depending on the meaning.
- The team performed well this time.
- The team members have not come for practice today.
- We use a singular verb with the word ‘every’ and the phrase ‘many a’.
Plural verbs do not have the letter ‘s’ at the end of the word, but plural nouns may have ‘s’.
Since ‘she’ is singular, we are adding ‘s’ with the subject, whereas in the second sentence,the verb ‘play’ remains in the plural form. Notice there is no ‘s’ after the word ‘play’.
Many Heroes but Few Saviours was awarded the best novel of the year.
The novel titled ‘Many Heroes but Few Saviors’is one novel; hence the verb used with it is singular.
The bundle of papers lies on the table.
Neither the police nor the medical experts have made any comment on the report yet.
Every person in the village knows the story. Many thoughts come to my mind when I stay alone.
- Some nouns though they look like plural forms yet take a singular verb since they are proper nouns.
- Mathematics is my favorite subject.
- Gems is my favorite chocolate.
- With the word ‘pair’ we always use singular verbs.
- The pair of shoes is kept on the shoe rack.
- A pair of scissors was on the table.