Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental rule in English grammar that governs the relationship between subjects (nouns or pronouns) and verbs in a sentence. In order to make sentences clear and grammatically correct, it is important that the subject and verb in a sentence agree in number and person. This means that a singular subject should have a singular verb, and a plural subject should have a plural verb.
Basic Rules for Subject-Verb Agreement:
Singular Subjects and Singular Verbs: Singular subjects require singular verbs.
Example: The cat ‘runs’ in the garden.
In this sentence, the singular subject “cat” agrees with the singular verb “runs.”
Plural Subjects and Plural Verbs: Plural subjects require plural verbs.
Example: The cats ‘run’ in the garden.
Here, the plural subject ‘cats’ matches with the plural verb ‘run.’
Indefinite Pronouns: Indefinite pronouns (e.g., everyone, nobody, somebody) are treated as singular, except when they refer to multiple individuals.
Example: Everyone ‘is’ here.
The indefinite pronoun ‘everyone’ is singular.
Example: Some of the students ‘are’ late.
‘Some’ refers to multiple individuals, so it takes a plural verb.
Collective Nouns: Collective nouns (e.g., team, family, audience) can be singular or plural, depending on the context.
Example: The team ‘is’ playing well. (Singular)
The team ‘are’ arguing among themselves. (Plural)
In the first sentence, the team is considered a single unit, so it takes a singular verb. In the second sentence, the team is acting as separate individuals, so it takes a plural verb.
Compound Subjects: When two or more subjects are joined by ‘and,’ the verb is usually plural.
Example: John ‘and’ Mary ‘are’ coming to the party.
Exception: If the subjects refer to a single entity, use a singular verb.
Example: Peanut butter ‘and’ jelly ‘is’ my favorite sandwich. (Treating them as a single entity)
Compound Subjects with ‘or’ or ‘nor’: When subjects are connected by “or” or “nor,” the verb agrees with the subject closest to it.
Example: Neither the teacher ‘nor’ the students ‘were’ excited.
Either the cat ‘or’ the dog ‘is’ responsible.
In the first sentence, ‘students’ is plural, so the verb is plural. In the second sentence, ‘cat’ is singular, so the verb is singular.
Subjects That Express Quantity: When the subject expresses a quantity or amount, the verb usually agrees with the subject.
Example: Five dollars ‘is’ a lot to pay for a cup of coffee.
Ten apples ‘are’ on the table.
Titles, Names, and Words as Subjects: Titles of books, movies, and names of companies or organizations take singular verbs.
Example: The Lord of the Rings ‘is’ a famous book.
Microsoft ‘develops’ software.
Exception: When referring to the individuals within the title or name, use a plural verb.
Example: The Beatles ‘were’ a popular band.
Subjects Separated by Prepositional Phrases: The verb should agree with the subject, not the object of the preposition.
Example: The group of students ‘is’ going to the museum.
One of the cats ‘is’ missing.
There and Here: When ‘there’ or ‘here’ is the subject, the verb agrees with the true subject that follows.
Example: There ‘are’ many books on the shelf.
Here ‘is’ your coffee.
Expressions of Quantity: Expressions of quantity, like ‘a lot’ ‘a great deal,’ ‘a majority,’ can be followed by a singular or plural verb, depending on the context.
Example: A lot of the pizza ‘was’ eaten.
A majority of the students ‘are’ in favor of the proposal.
Remember that subject-verb agreement is crucial for clear and accurate communication in English. Practice is the key to mastering this grammar rule, so continue to review and apply these principles in your writing and speaking. 0 0 0.
You May Like: