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Subject-Verb Agreement Rules – Subject-Verb Agreement

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Subject verb agreement rules is an important grammatical aspect that verbs in a sentence must match a number, gender, and person of the subject. In subject-verb agreement, we can say if the subject is singular, the verb must be in the singular form, and if the subject is plural, the verb must be in the plural form. In this article, we’ll understand the rules of subject-verb agreement, examples, Advanced Subject-Verb Agreement Rules, and exercises that help you to understand and to apply this important grammar rule. Here you will find a valuable resource for understanding and mastering subject-verb agreement. Whether you’re preparing for an important exam or simply want to improve your communication skills .

Subject Verb Agreement

Subject Verb Agreement

What is Subject-Verb Agreement?

Subject-verb agreement, also known as “subject-verb concord” is an important grammatical rule. It implies that the verb or verbs in a sentence must match the number, person, and gender of the subject. Basically, the subject and verbs in a sentence must both agree on the number, whether it be singular or plural. A singular subject (he, Ram, train, etc.) requires a singular verb (is, goes, shines), whereas a plural subject requires a plural verb, according to the subject-verb agreement rule.

Subject-Verb Agreement Examples

Singular SubjectSingular VerbsPlural SubjectPlural Verbs
Iam/ was/ have/ go/ readWeare/ were/have/go/read
Youare/ were /have /go/readYouare/ were/have/go/read
He/ She/ Itis/was /has/goes/ readsTheyare/ were/have/go/read

Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement with example

Rule 1: When there are “nouns” before “of” in a sentence, the verb adheres to the subject that comes before the first “of.”

Example: 
• The quality of the flowers is good.

Rule 2: When the conjunction “and” connects two single nouns, a plural verb follows.

Example: 
• Rahul and Somu are going to market.

Note: However, if the pronoun “each” is used with both nouns connected by the conjunction “and,” it refers to the two subjects separately, therefore the verb will be singular. (e.g. Every boy and every girl was given a bar of chocolate, a biscuit, and two bananas).

Rule 3:

(a) Singular verbs are used when one person or idea is discussed but two or more nouns or adjectives are connected by “and.” Article “the” is used only before the first noun.

Example: 
• The poet, artist, and novelist is (singular verb) present.

(b) Plural verbs are used when two or more nouns are connected by “and” but two distinct topics or concepts are discussed.

Example: 
• The poet, the artist, and the novelist are (plural verb) present.

Rule 4: The verb will change in accordance with the first subject when multiple subjects are linked through “but, in addition to, as well as, together with, together with, including, excluding, and not, accompanied by, with like, like, unlike, besides, except, rather than, or nothing but”.

Example: 
• Rekha (subject 1), as well as her sisters (subject 2), is (singular verb) going to her shop.
• The students (subject 1) along with the principal (subject 2) are (singular verb) present today.

Rule 5: The verb will change in accordance with the closest subject when two subjects are connected by “either…or…nor…nor, not…..only, but……also, nor, or, none but.”

Example:
• Is either he (subject1) or his cousins (subject2) going on the tour?
• Neither Gopal (subject1) nor his friends (subject2) have reached school today.

Rule 6: There are several nouns that, despite having a plural noun as a form, have a singular meaning. They, therefore, use the singular verb. These verbs include physics, math, politics, economics, pool, measles, mumps, rickets, and draughts, among others.

Example: 
• Politics is my favorite subject.

Note: If ‘Politics’ means political thoughts, ‘Mathematics’ means ‘calculations, and ‘statistics’ means ‘data’, a plural verb is used.

Example:
• My politics are not the same as yours.
• These statistics are not very believable.

Rule 7: Each, every, every one, one, none, any, somebody, nobody, somebody, many a, etc are considered singular always. They will therefore use the singular noun, the singular pronoun, and the singular verb.

Example:
• Everyone has left already.
• Each child has been taken care of.
• More than one person was refusing the pact.

Rule 8: When the preposition “of” is used after one, none, either, neither, each, or every, the noun or pronoun that follows it will be in the plural. The verb, noun, pronoun, and adjective that appear in the latter section of the sentence, however, will all be singular.

Example: 
• Each of the candidates (plural noun) is observing his subject.       

Advanced Rules Subject-Verb Agreement with Example

Rule 1: In the cases where the plural noun is a proper name for single objects or collective units, we should use a singular verb.

Example: Cricket is a popular game in England.

Rule 2: The nouns with ‘each or every,’ even though connected by ‘and,’ require a singular verb.

Example: Every girl and every boy was given a packet of candies.

Rule 3: ‘Pains and means’ take either the singular or the plural verb, but the form must be consistent.

Examples: 

(i) All possible means have been tested by us. 

(ii) The pain was unbearable.

Rule 4: We use a singular verb when the collection is used as a whole. When the individuals of which it is composed are used, the verb is plural. (audience, committee, company, police, society, board, group, family, public, government, organization, team, club, crowd, minority, jury, class )

Example: The group works for the execution of the policy.

Rule 5: In cases where a plural noun denotes a period of time, amounts of money, or quantities, it is considered as a single unit, and singular verbs are used. (Foot, meter, score, dozen, million, rupees, month)

Examples: 

(i) Forty kilometers is a long walk. 

(ii) Seven months is too long a time to wait.

Rule 6: When two different singular nouns express one idea, we use a singular verb. (Bread and milk, Rice and curry, Bread and butter)

Example: Bread and milk is good for breakfast.

Rule 7: Where two singular subjects are practically synonymous, we should use a singular verb. (Law and order, power and influence, power and position, peace and prosperity)

Example: The law and order situation in Delhi was fully under control.

Rule 8: Majority can be singular or plural. If it is alone, it is usually singular. If it is followed by a plural noun, it is plural.

Examples: 

(i) A majority is always right. 

(ii) A majority of students are right.

Rule 9: The number/a number used as singular as well as plural.

Examples: 

(i) A number of students are found there. 

(ii) The number of people living in the streets has reduced.

Rule 10: When a lot of, a great deal of, plenty of, most of, and some of refer to a number, a plural verb is used.

Example: A lot of people were present at the meeting.

But, if these expressions refer to an amount, the verb is in the singular number. A lot of work has to be completed before we go.

Rule 11: When sentences start with “there” or “here, ” the subject will always be placed after the verb, so care needs to be taken to identify it correctly.

Examples

(i) There are four members in the team. 

(ii) There is a problem in the worksheet.

Rule 12: A linking verb usually agrees with its subject, not with its complement.

Example: The reason of her failure was excessive absences.

Rule 13: Plural verbs are required for many nouns that have no singular form, such as proceeds, goods, ashes, remains, credentials, premises, etc.,

Example: The goods are being dispatched by goods train.

Rule 14: After such expressions as one-half of, two-thirds of, a part of, a majority of

Example: Two-thirds of the mailing list has been sent.

Rule 15: In sentences containing the words one of, the verb is chosen as follows:

Example: One of the pencils is missing from my bag.

Rule 16: All, any, more, most, and some may be singular or plural depending on the meaning, and take verbs accordingly.

Example: All the work has been finished.

Rule 17: The title of books or magazines are considered singular and take singular verbs.

Example: The Hindu still has wide circulation.

Subject-Verb Agreement Anchor Chart

1. If the SUBJECT is singular, add ‘s’ to the verb.

Eg., The horse walks down the street.

2. If the SUBJECT is plural, don’t add ‘s’ to the verb.

Eg., The horses walk down the street.

3. If the SUBJECT is I or You, do not add ‘s’ to the verb.

Eg., I ride the bicycle.

You ride the bicycle.

4. Linking Verbs:

Singular Subject- was, has, is, does, am

Plural Subject- were, have, are, do

Subject Verb Agreement Exercises

Question: Choose the correct form of the verb that agrees with the subject:

1. The amenities of the farmhouse ____ quite impressive. (is/are)

2. Man and woman _____ complementary to each other. (is/are)

3. The leader as well as his supporters _____ to the same tribe. (belong/belongs)

4. The students accompanied by their professor _____ went on a trip. (has/have)

5. A large sum of money _____ stolen. (was/were)

6. A lot of buildings _____ collapsed in the storm. (has/have)

7. The government ____ criticised by the High Court for their actions. (was/were)

8. Many people _____ tried hard to climb the treacherous mountain range. (have/has)

9. All the tourists ____ excited to visit the museum. (is/are)

10. Somebody ____ waiting at the restaurant for you. (is/are)

11. The carpenter, along with his helper ____, expected to come soon. (is/are)

12. Neither Danny nor Emily ____ went to work. (has/have)

Answers:

1. The amenities of the farmhouse are quite impressive. 
2. Man and woman are complementary to each other. 
3. The leader as well as his supporters belongs to the same tribe. 
4. The students accompanied by their professor have gone on a trip. 
5. A large sum of money was stolen. 
6. A lot of buildings have collapsed in the storm. 
7. The government was criticized by the High Court for its actions. 
8. Many people has tried hard to climb the treacherous mountain range.
9. All the tourists were excited to visit the museum.
10. Somebody is waiting at the restaurant for you. 
11. The carpenter, along with his helper is, expected to come soon.
12. Neither Danny nor Emily has gone to work.

Subject-Verb Agreement Quiz

Choose the sentence in which the subject and verb agree on each of the following:

A. The chairperson or the secretary are speaking today.
     The chairperson or the secretary is speaking today.

B. Either George or Messi pays the workers this evening.
    Either George or Messi pay the workers this evening.

C. Some of the almonds is salted.
    Some of the almonds are salted.

D. Mahi, as well as Jade, speaks French Sign Language.
     Mahi, as well as Jade, speak French Sign Language.

E. Physics are a required subject for a college degree.. 
    Physics is a required subject for a college degree.

F. Each of the champions receive a trophy.
    Each of the champions receives a trophy.

G. Neither my bike nor my car is working.
    Neither my bike nor my car are working.

FAQs on Subject-Verb Agreement in English

Q1. What is the Subject-verb Agreement?

Subject-Verb agreement is basically a rule in grammar, according to which the verbs in a sentence must match the number, person, and gender of the subject.

Q2. What are Examples of Subject-verb Agreement?

(a) She goes for a walk daily in the morning. (b) You were responsible for this assignment.

Q3. What are the Basic Rules in Subject-verb Agreement?

All the basic rules in Subject-Verb Agreement is mentioned above in this article. 



Last Updated : 04 Dec, 2023
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