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Usage and Agreement. Subjects and Verbs. Number. Singular subjects should have singular verbs, plural should have plural verbs Cindy is my favorite aunt. Her children are about my age. Tricky subjects. Indefinite pronouns Some are always singular, some are always plural

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usage and agreement

Usage and Agreement

Subjects and Verbs


Singular subjects should have singular verbs, plural should have plural verbs

  • Cindyis my favorite aunt.
  • Her childrenare about my age.
tricky subjects
Tricky subjects
  • Indefinite pronouns
    • Some are always singular, some are always plural
    • Some, however, can be either- it then depends on the context of the sentence
always singular indefinite pronouns
Always singular indefinite pronouns
  • Each everyone nobody
  • Either everybody nothing
  • Neither everything anyone
  • One no one anybody
  • Another much anything
  • Someone somebody something

No one except the nice students leaves early.

always plural
Always plural
  • Several
  • Few
  • Both
  • many

A few in the crowd are troublesome.

  • Some
  • All
  • Any
  • More
  • Most
  • none

Most of the Nobel Prizes for literature have been awarded to men.

Most refers to prizes (plural) so verb is plural

Most of the money for the prizes comes from a fund established by Alfred Nobel.

Most refers to money (singular) so verb is singular

compound subjects
Compound Subjects
  • Two subjects joined by and are plural
    • My mom and sistersare in Las Vegas.
  • Two subjects joined by or/nor are singular
    • Verb should agree to subject closest
      • My sisters or my momis in Las Vegas.
      • My mom or my sistersare in Las Vegas.
collective nouns
Collective Nouns
  • The kind of noun that represents a group. (family, team, crowd, jury)
  • Depend on rest of sentence
  • If all members create one action = singular
  • If members do different actions = plural
    • The familyconsists of 34 members (one unit- singular)
    • The familyhave gone separate ways (different actions- plural)
words stating amounts
Words stating amounts
  • Singular when the amount is thought of as a whole
    • Ninety percent of the student body is here.
    • Fifty centswas the price.
  • Plural when the amount indicates a collection of individual parts
    • Three quarterswere in my pocket
    • Ninety percent of the students are present today.
every and many a
“Every” and “Many a”
  • Always singular
  • Every mother, father, and grandparent is looking at their graduate with pride.
  • Many a hopeful performer has gone to search for fame.