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SUBJECT VERB AGREEMENT

1. When a word refers to one person or thing, it is 12. Collective nouns may be either singular or plural.
singular in number. When a word refers to more Collective nouns are singular in form but they
than one, it is plural in number. name a group of persons or things.
Singular Plural e.g. The jury was ready to announce uts
hunter hunters decision.
child children (Jury is thought of as a unit.)
story stories
The jury were arguing among
2. A verb agrees with its subject in number. themselves. (Jury is thought of
(a) Singular subjects take singular verbs. as
e.g. My brother knows the answer. individuals.)
(b) Plural subjects take plural verbs. 13. When the subject follows the verb as in
e.g. My brothers know the answer. sentences beginning there and here, be careful
3. The number of the subject is not changed by a to determine the subject and make sure that the
phrase following the subject. verb agrees with it.
e.g. One of the kites has caught in a tree. e.g. Here is a letter for you.
Mimi, together with her sisters, has There are my friends now.
been taking voice lessons. 14. Words stating amount are usually singular.
4. The following pronouns are singular: each; either; e.g. Twenty pesos is a high price for
neither; one; everyone; everybody; no one; chocolates.
nobody; anyone; anybody; someone; somebody, Eight days was the time alloted.
etc. Two-thirds of the food was eaten.
e.g. Each of these sounds causes 15. The title of a work of art, literature or music,
drowsiness. even when plural in form, takes a singular verb.
Everyone in the class has read the e.g. Great Expectations is one of my
novel. favorite novels. (one book)
5. The following pronouns are plural: several; few; The Pirates of the Caribbean was
both; many, etc. presented by the Dramatic
e.g. Few of the students have failed the Club.
test. 16. A few nouns , although plural in form, take a
Several of these plants are singular verb.
poisonous. e.g. The news of Louis Armstrong’s death
6. The pronouns: some; all; most; any and none was indeed sad.
may either be singular or plural. Physics is my most difficult
e.g. Some of the food was eaten. (Some subject.
refers to singular food.) 17. A pronoun agrees with its antecedent in number
Some of the apples were eaten. and gender.
(Some e.g. Margarita showed her paintings
refers to plural apples.) yesterday.
7. Subjects joined by and take a plural verb. Today, Clarence will make his report.
e.g. Grace, Mike and Anne are writers. The boys will prove their singing
8. If a compound subject names only one person or talents
thing, then the verb must be singular. tomorrow.
e.g. The secretary and treasurer plans to 18. Two or more singular antecedents joined by or or
resign. nor should be referred to by a singular pronoun.
Ham and eggs is a good breakfast e.g. Neither Eugene nor Roy blamed
dish. himself.
9. Singular subjects joined by or or nor take a Just then Jill or Jana cleared her
singular verb. throat.
e.g. Every Saturday, Gail or Ernie takes 19. When this or that is the subject, the third person
the singular form of the verb is used; when these or
laundry to the Laundromat. those is the subject, the third person plural form
10. When a singular subject and a plural subject are of the verb is used.
joined by or or nor, the verb agrees with the e.g. That is incredible.
subject nearer the verb. Those are the candidates.
e.g. Neither the singers nor the 20. Intervening words like together with, in addition
accompanist to, as well as, including and similar constructions
has memorized the music. following the subject do not affect the number of
Neither the accompanist nor the the subject.
singers have memorized the e.g. The coach, as well as his athletes, is
music. jubilant.
11. Don't and doesn't must agree with their subjects. The farmer, together with his sons,
e.g. I don't cook. works hard.
He doesn't cook. 21. When the expressions the number of precedes a
subject, a singular form of the verb is used; when
the expression a number of precedes a subject, a
plural form of the verb is used.
e.g. The number of absentees is small.
A number of books are missing.
22. A plural noun referring to time, money or
distance that is preceded by an expression of
amount or quantity is considered singular and is
used with the third person singular form of the
verb.
e.g. Ten years is such a long, long time.
Five pesos is all I have.
Fifty kilometers seems short.
23. A noun that is preceded by an expression of
fraction or portion may be considered singular or
plural depending on whether the noun following
of is singular or plural.
e.g. One half of the money is yours.
One third of the work is done.
MPC