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Subject-Verb

Agreement

Basic Principle :
Subjects and verbs must AGREE with
one another in NUMBER.

Singular

A singular subject (dog) takes a singular verb


(chases), whereas a plural subject (dpgs) takes a
plural verb (chase).

Plural

These agreement rules do


not apply to verbs used in
the simple past tense
without any helping verbs.

The word compound means


made up of two or more
parts. Two or more
words can be
compounded or linked by
joining them with any of
three words:
and, or, and nor

Here are some examples of


compound words:

The word compound means


made up of two or more
parts. Two or more
words can be
compounded or linked by
joining them with any of
three words:
and, or, and nor

Compound subjects
joined by "and"
Two or more
singular (or plural)
subjects joined by
"and" act as a
plural compound
subject and take a
plural verb.

This sentence makes use of a compound subject (two subject nouns joined by and),
illustrating a new rule about subject-verb agreement.

Although each part of the compound subject is singular (ranger and


camper), taken together (joined by and), each one becomes
a part of a plural structure and, therefore, must take a plural verb (see)
to agree in the sentence.

Two or more plural subjects joined by


"or" / "nor" would naturally take a
plural verb to agree.

Two or more singular subjects joined


by "or" / "nor" would naturally take a
singular verb to agree.

My aunt or my uncle is arriving by train

today.

Neither Juan nor Carmen is available.

Either Kiana or Casey is helping today


with stage decorations.

What if one part of the compound


subject is singular
and the other part is plural?

If the individual parts of the compoun


are joined by or or nor, use the verb f
(singular or plural) which will agree w
subject closer to the verb.

Indefinite pronouns can pose special problems in subject verb


agreement.
The difficulty is that some indefinite pronouns sound plural
when they are really singular.
As subjects, the following indefinite pronouns ALWAYS take
singular verbs. Look at them closely.

However, the following indefinite pronouns ALWAYS take


plural verbs.

A third group of indefinite pronouns takes


either a singular or plural verb
depending on the pronouns meaning
in the sentence.

When every and each come before a singular


subject joined by and, the verb is singular.

Every man and woman has the right to vote.


Each student and teacher was aware of the
difficulty.

Rules
&
Tips

Anyone, everyone, someone, no one, and nobody


always require singular verbs.
Neither and either require singular verbs even
though they seem to be referring to two separate
things.
Sums of money or periods of time require a
singular verb.
When a sentence compounds a positive and a
negative subject and only one is plural, the verb
should agree with the positive subject.
Words that indicate portions of a whole, such as
percent, fraction, some, all, none, and remainder
require a singular verb only if the object of the
preposition is singular.

Who, that, and which are singular or


plural according to the noun directly in
front of them.
Typically, you should use a plural verb
with two or more subjects when they are
connected by and.
There and here are never considered to be
subjects. In sentences beginning with here
or there, the subject follows the verb.

The phrase introduced by as well as or


along with modifies the earlier word, but
does not compound the subjects.
If a sentence includes modifiers between
the subject and verb, this does not affect
whether the verb is singular or plural.
Just because a word ends in s does not
automatically make it plural. Consider
the word is as an example of this rule.
A collective noun such as team or staff
can be either singular or plural
depending upon the rest of the sentenc

Thank You!