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Subject Verb Agreement. The basic idea…. The number of the subject determines the number of the verb. Singular subject = singular verb Plural subject = plural verb Ex: The girl graduates. (Singular) The students graduate. (Plural). Most of the time….

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the basic idea
The basic idea…
  • The number of the subject determines the number of the verb.
  • Singular subject=singular verb
  • Plural subject=plural verb

Ex: The girl graduates. (Singular)

The students graduate. (Plural)

most of the time
Most of the time…
  • Nouns ending in -S are plural (aunts, cities, tacos, friends)
  • Verbs ending in –Sare singular (gives, takes, runs, has, is)
  • Note: Verbs used with I and you do NOT end in –S
  • Ex: I run. You run. I walk. You walk.
some rules
Some Rules

I Plural verb (no –s) (exception)

You  Plural verb (no –s)

He, She, It  Singular Verb (-s)

You  Plural Verb (no –s)

We  Plural Verb (no –s)

They  Plural Verb (no –s)

practice choose the correct form of the verb write the subject and verb
Practice: Choose the correct form of the verb. Write the subject and verb.
  • The people (walk, walks) across the street when the cars stop.
  • You (is, are) required to turn in your work by noon.
  • That house (has, have) always given me the creeps.
  • We (talk, talks) on the phone everyday.
  • Kristin (was, were) in the mall and ran into her best friend.
  • The kids (sing, sings) every time they hear that song on the radio.
  • They (believe, believes) that they will win the game.
  • All the women (seems, seem) to feel the same way about the issue.
  • Julia (reads, read) all the time.
  • They (attends, attend) the church on the corner.
special rules for subject verb agreement
Special Rules for Subject Verb Agreement!

Compound subjects: When the compound subject is connected by “and,” use a plural verb.

Ex: Jim and Thomas like hiking.

Plural Verb

Ex: Her dad, mom, and her brothers are doctors.

special rules for subject verb agreement1
Special Rules for Subject Verb Agreement!

When the subject is 2 or more singular nouns joined by “or” or “nor,” use a singular verb.

Ex: A pen or pencil is acceptable to use.

Ex: Neither Sam nor Mike likes sports.

Singular Verb

special rules for subject verb agreement2
Special Rules for Subject Verb Agreement!

When a singular subject and a plural subject are joined by “or” or “nor,” the verb agrees with the subject closest to the verb.

Ex: Neither the potatoes nor the roast is done.

Ex: Neither the roast nor the potatoes are done.


Practice: Choose the correct form of the verb. Write the subject and verb.

  • Mario and Luigi (run, runs) away from the fireball.
  • Kathy and Bobby (play, plays) basketball every Saturday.
  • She and Simon (is, are) going to the Homecoming Dance.
  • Either my mom or my dad (drive, drives) me to school.
  • Neither the grapes nor the cantaloupe (was, were) ripe enough to eat.
sva checkpoint quiz just write the verb
SVA Checkpoint Quiz (Just write the verb)
  • Neither the cantaloupe nor the grapes (was, were) ripe enough to eat.
  • Actors and singers (is, are) very prominent in Hollywood.
  • Either the faucet or the shower head (leak, leaks) when the water runs.
  • The campers and the counselors (run, runs) 3 miles every morning.
  • The assistant managers or the boss (monitor, monitors) the sales floor.
  • I (is, am) always up for a good movie.
  • The girls (park, parks) the car and then go inside.
  • My mom and dad (love, loves) music from the 70s.
  • The students (is, are) very excited for the game.
  • The players or the coach (creates, create) the plays.
some more sva rules
Some more SVA Rules

Sometimes phrases will appear in between the subject and the verb. Don’t be misled by these phrases!!

Ex: The boy with the purple shoes runs fast.

The people in the parking lot drive slowly.

What are these two phrases???


So, if we cross out the prepositional phrases we can easily choose the verb.

Ex: The boy with the purple shoes runs fast.

Ex: The people in the parking lot drive slowly.

Remember: The subject and verb will

never be in the prepositional phrase!

more phrases


More phrases…

Other phrases (adjective clauses, appositives, and participle phrases) might also interrupt the subject and the verb. Do not let these phrases confuse you!

  • One of the boxes is open
  • The people who listen to that music are few.
  • The team captain, as well as his players, is anxious.
  • The book, including all the chapters in the first section, is boring.
  • The woman with all the dogs walks down my street.
Directions: Write the sentence. Draw a line through the interrupting phrase and then identify the subject and correct verb.
  • Students in the 8th grade (is, are) not permitted to attend.
  • Her husband, a very kind man, (call, calls) her everyday at lunch.
  • The pond, frozen over since early December, (is, are) now safe for ice-skating.
  • The boy with the guitar (play, plays) all the time.
  • The girl winning the race (are, is) my best friend.
  • All the bands in the contest (deserve, deserves) an award.
  • That band from California ( perform, performs) all around the world.
  • The woman, a Florida native, (sings, sing) beautifully.
sva special rules
SVA: Special Rules

The words each, each one, either, neither, everyone, everybody, anybody, anyone, nobody, somebody, someone, and no one are singular and require a singular verb.

  • Each of these hot dogs is juicy.
  • Everybody knows Mr. Jones.
  • Either is correct.
sva special rules1
SVA: Special Rules

Collective nouns are words that imply more than one person but that are considered singular and take a singular verb, such as group, team, committee, class, and family.

  • The teamruns during practice.
  • The committeedecides how to proceed.
  • The familyhas a long history.
sva special rules2
SVA: Special Rules

In sentences beginning with there is or there are, the subject follows the verb. Since there is not the subject, the verb agrees with what follows.

  • There are many questions.
  • There is a question.
practice write the correct verb
Practice: Write the correct verb.
  • Each of the cars (is, are) expensive.
  • Everybody (want, wants) to go to the pep rally.
  • There (is, are) a book on the table.
  • There (is, are) books on the table.
  • The group (is, are) ready to leave.
  • The class (has, have) a test every three weeks.
  • My family (has, have)never been able to agree.
  • Anyone (is, are) welcome to attend.