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Subject- Verb Agreement


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A verb must agree with its subject in number. For example:

A scientist discovers new facts.
Scientists discover new facts.

In first sentence the subject scientist is in the singular number. So the verb discovers is also in the singular.

In second sentence the subject scientists is in the plural number. So the verb discover is also in the plural.

Rule (1) A verb must agree with its subject in person. For example:

1. I am happy.
2. He is happy.
3. We are happy.

In sentence 1, the verb am agrees with the subject I.
In sentence 2, the verb is agrees with the subject He.
In sentence 3, the verb are agrees with the subject We.

Rule (2) Usually, the verb is placed very close to its subject. So we can easily ensure that the two agree with each other. But we have to be careful in the use of the verb if it is far from its subject. For example:

The condition of these books is not good.

In this sentence, the subject is condition (and not books), so the verb is agrees with subject condition. We use is with the plural (books).

Rule (3) Normally the verb is placed after the subject. But in sentences beginning with there, the real subject is placed after the verb, so we have to be careful in the use of the verb. For example:

There are eleven players in a cricket team.

In this sentence players are the main subject but we placed it after the verb are.

Rule (4) If the subject contains of two or more singular nouns or pronouns joined by and, it takes a plural verb. For example:

Rekha and Madhu are sisters.
He and I were present in meeting.

Rule (5) If the two nouns refer to the same person or thing, the verb is singular. For example:

The poet and the novelist is no more.

The same person is poet and as well as novelist so we put the singular verb is.

Rule (6) when the subject consists of two nouns or pronouns joined with with or as well as the verb agrees with the first subject. For example:

The captain, with all the players, is present in the ground.
I, as well as they, am tired of the work.

Rule (7) Each, either, neither, every one and one of the take a singular verb with them. For example:

Everyone knows the secret.

But when two subjects are connected with either---------or or neither-------------nor , the verb agrees with the latter subject. For example:

Either the manager or the employees were telling a lie.

Rule (8) Much and a little take a singular verb with them. For example:

Much has already been said.
Only a little of the work has been completed.

Rule (9) Many, a few, several and both take a plural verb with them. For example:

Many of these students were absent yesterday.
A few of these are still vacant.



Sample Usage

Example for Rule (1)

Nisha is very good girl.
These books are very important for me.

Example for Rule (2)

The boy who is wearing blue pants is my cousin.

Example for Rule (3)

There was so many books are lying on the floor.

Example for Rule (4)

Ram and Arun are going to play cricket.
My friend and guide has not come.

Example for Rule (5)

They, as well as, I, are tired of the work.
All the players, with the captain, are present in the ground.

Example for Rule (6)

Either of the two candidates is perfect for the job.
One of the new employees has helped me to complete this project.

Example for Rule (7)

Neither the moon nor the stars are shining today.

Example for Rule (8)

Only a little of the work has been completed.

Example for Rule (9)

Both of the guests have arrived.
Several of the shops are closed today.





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