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What is Subject Verb Agreement ?     How to Learn General English Series

What is Subject Verb Agreement?

The subject and the verb are the important and essential parts of a sentence.

The verb must agree with subject in person and number.

The verb must be singular if the subject is singular.

 The verb must be plural if the subject is plural.


Noun + s/es =Plural

Verb + s/es = Singular

What are the Important Rules of Subject Verb Agreement?

A plural verb is used when two or more singular nouns or pronouns joined by ‘and’ .

She and her sister were eating.

Silver and Copper are metals.

The verb must be singular when two singular nouns refer to the same person or thing.

The actor and poet has come.

A black and white picture car is stolen.

(The verb is singular because article is used before one noun only).

When the article is used before both the nouns signifying two different persons or things the verb is plural.

The poet and the actor have come

A black and a brown horse are in the stable.

When two or more subjects are joined by like, as well as, in addition to, besides, with, together with, along with, but, except etc the verb is used as per the first subject.

The plane along with the crew was lost.

The politician with all his followers was detained.

Nobody, someone, anyone, every, each, neither and either must be followed by singular verb.

Each of these materials is available.

Neither of your friends is foolish.

When the subjects joined by nor, or, either….or, neither…nor are of different persons the verb agrees with the nearer.

He or she is to blame.

Neither Ram nor his friends were at the house.

The verb is singular when two subjects together express one idea.

The horse and carriage is at the park.

If the subject of a clause is a relative pronoun – which, that who, the verb is used according to the antecedent of the relative pronoun.

The girls who are eating are my friends.

He knows the boys who have eaten the fruit.

When plural nouns explain specific distance, amount, time, period or quantity the verb should be singular.

Five rupees was the amount given to me.

Two miles is a short distance.

When nouns like shoes, glasses, pants, scissors or spectacles etc are used as subject, the verb is plural.

My scissors are blunt.

Her spectacles are on the table.

Please note if a pair is used before these nouns the verb is singular.

A pair of scissors has been lost.

A pair of shoes was gifted to her.

Music, news, percentage, knowledge, advice, poetry, information, scenery, luggage and furniture etc are always singular and take a singular verb.

The scenery of Switzerland is beautiful.

His luggage was stolen.

Nouns like measles, mumps, politics, billiards, civics, statistics, physics, darts, bowls etc are plural in form but singular in meaning and hence take a singular verb.

Statistics is an interesting subject.

Politics is important for him.

Please note – When ‘The’ or possessive adjectives –your, his or my etc are used before nouns ending with “ics’ the verb is plural.

Her Statistics are good.

Nouns like government, jury, crew, council, team, mob, audience, committee, family, army etc take a singular verb when the collection is thought as a whole.

The committee has issued its findings.

The government has issued a notice.

Children, people, police, folk, cattle and gentry etc are plural and take a plural verb.

The police have arrested the thief.

The cattle are grazing

After I wish, as if, as though, if a plural verb is used to express unfulfilled wish, regret or unlikely condition.

I wish I were a billionaire.

If I were a cuckoo I would sing.

Many a /an must be followed by a singular verb.

Many a boy has tried. 

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