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Basic Rules for Subject Verb Agreement

Last Updated : 27 Sep, 2022
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In the last two articles related to “Subject-Verb Agreement”, we have covered a total of 17 important rules of the said topic from the point of view of SSC, Banking and other important govt. exams. This is the final part of the topic and after this, you will learn the whole concept.

Since we have given you a fair background of the topic in “Subject Verb Agreement for Govt. exams: Rules and Example (Part 1)” and “Subject Verb Agreement for Govt. exams: Rules and Example (Part 2)” already, let’s dig into the rest of the rules without much ado.

Basic Subject-Verb Agreement in English Grammar:

Singular Subject Singular Verbs Plural Subject Plural Verbs
I am/ was/ have/ go/ read We are/ were/ have / go / read
You are/ were/ have / go / read You are/ were/ have / go / read
He/ she/ it is/ was / has/ goes/ reads They are/ were/ have / go / read

Important Rules for Subject-Verb Agreement Part 3

Rule 18:

(a) Only plural verbs can be used when the phrase “more than one” is used with a plural noun; the plural noun must be placed close to the word more. 

Example: More players than one were invited to the championship.

(b) The singular noun must be used close to the word “one” when the phrase “more than one” is used with singular noun, and only singular verbs should be used. 

Example: More than one tree has been uprooted by the storm.

Rule 19:

(a) We use a plural noun and plural verb after words like a number, a vast number, a large number, and a variety of. 

Example: A vast number of children in our country are deprived of proper nutrition.

(b) We employ a plural noun but a singular verb after expressions like the number, the huge number, the large number, and the variety of.

Example: The number of tigers is decreasing all around the world.

Rule 20: If a preposition is followed by identical, singular nouns, we use them with a singular verb.

Example: Village after the village was looted by the goons.

Rule 21: Adjectives like poor, rich, old, young, etc. become plural nouns when we add an article before them.

Example: The young are the future of the country.

Rule 22:

(a) Following the phrase many a/many an, a countable, singular noun is always used. It also requires a singular verb to follow it.

Example: Many a student has performed on this stage.

(b) A countable, plural noun is usually used following the words many/a good many/a great many/many of/a good many of/a great many of. It also requires a plural verb to follow it.

Example: Many of the successful students were invited by the college.

Rule 23:

(a) We use a singular verb with a plural noun when one, two, three, four, five, etc. cardinal adjectives are used to describe a specific quantity, weight, height, distance or some amount as a whole etc.

Example: Seven kilometres is a long distance to cover by foot.

(b) We use a plural verb when various things are described by cardinal adjectives.

Example: Three lakhs are to be given away to the poor on the occasion of Independence day.

Rule 24: We only use a plural verb with both singular and plural subjects in optative sentences.

Example: God bless you, my child! God bless her. 

Rule 25: There are some terms that are only used in the plural and require plural verbs, such as scissors, shambles, tongs, archives, wages, spectacles, pants, trousers, bellows, etc.

Example: Those trousers were bought from the local market at a very cheap price.

Rule 26: Only singular verbs are used with uncountable nouns. Uncountable nouns include things like knowledge, guidance, landscape, luggage etc.

Example: The information was proved to be true and the accused got his punishment.

Note: In order to define these nouns as singular or plural we use phrases like “a/ two/ five piece/ pieces of”, “two/ three/ four bunches of” etc. before the nouns.


  • I cannot believe a piece of information and act in a rush.
  • We have two pieces of luggage with us.

Rule 27: We use the word “were” in hypothetical or fictitious circumstances marked by the use of expressions like if, as if, I want, as though, assume, and in case.

Example: If I were a bird, I would sing to you every day.

She’s behaving as if she were the Head of the Department. “It implies she is not the head of the department”

Thus, it was all about subject-verb agreement. All you have to do now is apply your knowledge and skills to level up what you have learned about subject-verb agreement. So, never forget to practise!

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