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* Subject Verb Agreement Remember that the subject and verb in a a sentence must agree in person and number. E.g. - The elevator works very well singular singular - The elevators work very well singular singular *Subject separated From the verb

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* Subject Verb Agreement

Remember that the subject and verb in a a

sentence must agree in person and number.

E.g. - The elevatorworks very well

singular singular

- The elevatorswork very well

singular singular

*Subject separated From the verb

Always check the subject and verb to be sure they

agree. However, sometimes it is difficult to decide

exactly what the subject is, If the subject and verb

are separated.

e.g. The boys in the room are studying

plural plural


Very often, if the subject and verb are separated,

they will be separated by a prepositional phrase.

The prepositional phrase has no effect on

the verb.

Subject + (prepositional phrase) + Verb

e.g. – The study of languages is very interesting

singular (s) singular (v)

- The effects of the crime are likely to be

plural (s) plural (v)

devastating.


The following expressions also have no effect

on the verb

Together with along with

accompanied by as well as

e.g. - The actress, along with her manager

singular (s)

and some friends, is going to a party.

singular (v)

Note: If the conjunction and is used instead of one of these phrase, the verb would then be plural.

e.g. – The actress and her managerare going to the

Plural (s) plural (v)

party.


*Words that always take singular verb and pronouns

The following words must be followed by singular

verbs and pronouns in formal written English.

Any+singular noun some+singular noun every each

Anybody nobody somebody everybody either*

Anyone no one someone everyone neither*

Anything nothing something everything

*Either and neither are singular if they are not used with or and no.

e.g. – Somethingwas under the house

- If either of you takes a vacation now, we will

not be able to finish the work

- Nobodyworks harder than John does.


*None/no

None can take either a singular or plural verb depending

on the noun which follows it

None + of the + non-count noun + singular (v)

e.g. None of the counterfeit moneyhas been found.

None + of the + plural count noun + plural (v)

e.g. None of the studentshave finished the exam yet.

No can take either a singular or plural verb depending

on the noun which follows it.

No + singular noun non count noun + singular verb

e.g. Noexampleis relevant to this case


No + plural noun + plural verb

e.g. Noexamplesare relevant to this case.

*Either/ Neither

When either and neither are followed by or and nor

the verb may be singular or plural depending on

whether the noun following, or and nor is singular or

plural if or and nor appears alone.

neither/either + noun + nor/or + plural (n) + plural (v)

e.g. Neither john nor his friendsare going to the

plural (n)plural (v)

beach.


Neither/either + noun + nor/or + singular (n) + singular (v)

e.g. Neither John nor Billis going to the beach

singular (n) singular (v)

*Gerunds as subjects

If sentence begins with (verb + ing) the verb must be singular.

e.g. Dietingis very popular today.

Writing many letters makes her happy.

Knowing her has made him what he is


*Collective Nouns

Also many words indicating a number of people or animals are

singular. The following are usually singular.

Congress family group public

Organization team army club

Government jury majority* minority

Class crowd committee

*Majority can be singular or plural. If it is alone it is

usually singular if it is followed by plural noun it is

usually plural.

e.g. The majority believes that we are in no danger

Examples of collective nouns:

  • Our team is going to win the game

  • The family was elated by the news


The following nouns are used to indicate groups of certain

animals. It is not necessary to learn the nouns; however, they

mean the same as group and thus are considered singular.

Flock of bird school of fish

Herd of cattle pride of lions

Pack of dogs

e.g. The flock of birds is circling overhead

A school of fish is being attacked by shark

Collective nouns indicating time, money, and measurements

used as a whole are singular

e.g. - Twenty-five dollarsis too much to pay for that

shirt.

- Two milesis too much to run in one day


*A Number of/the number of

A number of + plural noun + plural verb

e.g. A number ofstudentsare going the class picnic.

The number of + plural noun + singular verb

e.g. The number ofdays in a week is seven.

Nouns that always plural: The following nouns are always

considered plural. They cannot be singular. In order to speak

of them as singular, one must say: “a pair of ________”

Scissors shorts pants jeans tongs

Trousers glasses pliers tweezers

e.g. The pantsare in the drawer

A pair of pantsis in the drawer


*There is/there are: Remember that with

sentences beginning with the existential there,

the subject is actually after the verb.

There is

There are + singular subject (non count)

There has been

e.g. There isa storm approaching

There waswater on the floor where he fell

There are

There were + plural subject

There have been

e.g. - there weretoo many people at the party

- there have beena number of telephone calls

today


Exercise

Choose the correct form of the verb in the following sentence.

e.g. The army (has/have) eliminated this section of the training test.

1. Neither Bill nor Mary (is/are) going to the play tonight.

2. Anything (is/are) better than going to another movie tonight.

3. A number of reporters (was/were) at the conference yesterday.

4. Your glasses (was/were) on the bureau last night.

5. Skating (is/are) becoming more popular every day.

6. There (was/were) some people at the meeting last night.

7. The committee (has/have) already reached a decision.

8. A pair of jeans (was/were) in the washing machine this morning.

9. Each student (has/have) answered the first three questions.

10. A pack of wild dogs (has/have) frightened all the ducks away.


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