Subject Verb Agreement means that the verb in a sentence must agree with the subject in terms of number and person.
Here, we present you with the top 20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement.
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (1/20)
Uncountable nouns take singular verbs, even if their meaning suggests plurality.
- The water is refreshing. (Uncountable noun, singular verb)
- The furniture needs cleaning. (Uncountable noun, singular verb)
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (2/20)
A singular subject requires a singular verb, while a plural subject requires a plural verb. However, a singular subject takes a plural verb in the subjunctive mood.
- The cat jumps on the table. (Singular subject, singular verb)
- The dogs bark loudly. (Plural subject, plural verb)
- If she were a bird, she would fly in the sky. (Singular subject, plural verb in the subjunctive mood)
- If I were the President, we would abolish the exam. (Plural subject, plural verb in the subjunctive mood)
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (3/20)
When two singular nouns combine to refer to a single person or object, the verb is singular.
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- The Headmaster and President of the school is coming. (referring to one person holding both positions)
- The Headmaster and the President of the school are coming. (referring to two different individuals)
- A black and white horse is my favorite. (referring to a horse with both black and white colors)
- A black and a white horse are for sale. (referring to two horses, one black and one white)
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (4/20)
When an adjective is used as a noun, “the + adjective” is followed by a plural verb.
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- The rich are often targeted by thieves.
- The young are full of energy and enthusiasm.
- The poor are not always dishonest.
- The elderly are wise and experienced.
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (5/20)
When a title or name with a plural form refers to a singular subject, a singular verb is used.
- “The Beatles” was a legendary band.
- “The United States” is a country with diverse landscapes.
- “The Rolling Stones” is known for their energetic performances.
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (6/20)
Subjects connected by “each” or “every” always take a singular verb.
- Every student has a textbook.
- Each cat was fed this morning.
- Every car in the parking lot needs to be moved.
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (7/20)
When two or more subjects are connected by ‘and’, the verb is plural. However, if one of the subjects connected by ‘and’ is negated with ‘no’ or ‘not’, the verb agrees with the previous subject.
- Lisa and Pamela are two sisters.
- She and her friend have arrived here.
- Only boys and no girls are guilty.
- Only he and not his friends is the culprit. (Note: In this example, the verb agrees with the subject ‘he’ because it is the last subject before the negation ‘not’.)
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (8/20)
When two or more singular subjects are joined by “or,” “nor,” “either…or,” or “neither…nor,” the verb remains singular.
- Either the cat or the dog is responsible for the mess.
- Either Peter or David has eaten the Pineapple.
- Either the red shirt or the blue shirt goes well with these pants.
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (9/20)
When a singular and a plural subject are joined by ‘or’, ‘nor’, ‘either… or’, ‘neither… nor’, the verb agrees with the plural subject at the end.
- Either the dog or the cats have been causing trouble.
- Either John or his siblings are responsible for the mess.
- Neither the car nor the bikes were parked properly.
- Either the book or the magazines belong on the shelf.
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (10/20)
When ‘or’, ‘nor’, ‘either… or’, ‘neither… nor’ combine subjects of different persons, the verb agrees with the subject of the person at the end.
- Either she or I am going to the party.
- Neither you nor he is invited to the wedding.
- Either you or he has to take responsibility for the mistake.
- Neither John nor his friends want to participate in the game.
- Either Mary or her sisters are going on vacation.
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (11/20)
If the subjects of different numbers or persons are connected by ‘and’, the verb is plural.
- You, he, and I are going to the movies tonight.
- You and he are both excellent singers.
- You and I will be working together on this project.
- Mary and her friends are going on a road trip.
- The dog and the cats are playing in the backyard.
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (12/20)
Collective nouns, when used to convey a sense of togetherness or unanimous action, take a singular verb. However, when they are used to convey a sense of separation, they take a plural verb. Examples of such nouns include audience, class, committee, crowd, flock, jury, parliament, team, etc.
- The audience was applauding at the end of the performance. (togetherness)
- The class was studying diligently for the upcoming exam. (togetherness)
- The committee have differing opinions on the matter. (separation)
- The flock is migrating south for the winter. (togetherness)
- The jury were unable to reach a unanimous decision. (separation)
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (13/20)
“A lot of / A group of / A number of” collectively take a singular verb when referring to a single entity, and a plural verb when referring to multiple entities.
- There is a lot of food on the table. (referring to a single quantity)
- A lot of people are attending the concert. (referring to multiple individuals)
- Here is a group of students. (referring to a single group)
- A group of birds are flying in the sky. (referring to multiple birds)
- A number of complaints has been received. (referring to a single count of complaints)
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (14/40)
Some nouns that are singular in form but plural in meaning take a plural verb.
- The police are investigating the crime. (referring to multiple police officers)
- People have different opinions on this topic. (referring to multiple individuals)
- Two dozen eggs cost forty-eight rupees. (referring to 24 eggs)
- The staff are taking their lunch break. (referring to multiple staff members)
- The committee members have arrived for the meeting. (referring to multiple committee members)
40 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (15/20)
Some nouns that are plural in form but singular in meaning take a singular verb.
- The news is spreading quickly. (referring to a singular concept)
- The wages of sin is eternal suffering. (referring to a singular consequence)
- Physics is a fascinating branch of science. (referring to a singular field of study)
- Politics is his passion and life’s work. (referring to a singular domain)
- The mathematics problem is challenging. (referring to a singular mathematical problem)
Note: Some nouns are always plural and take a plural verb.
- The goods were shipped to the warehouse. (referring to multiple items)
- My belongings have been packed in boxes. (referring to multiple personal items)
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (16/20)
When a plural noun is preceded by ‘one of’, ‘each of’, ‘either of’, ‘neither of’, etc., the verb agrees with the noun and takes a singular form.
- One of the boys was absent from school. (referring to a singular boy)
- The quality of the oranges is excellent. (referring to a singular quality)
- Each of the girls is talented. (referring to a singular girl)
- Either of the books is available for borrowing. (referring to a singular book)
- Neither of the books was interesting to read. (referring to a singular book)
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (17/20)
If more than one subject is joined by ‘with’, ‘together with’, or ‘as well as’, the verb agrees with the first subject.
- Mike, as well as his friends, was punished. (referring to multiple subjects)
- Sarah, together with her sisters, is going on vacation.
- The dog, as well as the cats, needs to be fed.
- The professor, along with his students, is attending the conference.
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (18/20)
In “not only… but also” constructions, the verb agrees with the last subject.
- Not only she but also her sisters were invited to the event.
- Not only the cat but also the dog likes to play outside.
- Not only Tom but also his friends have seen the movie.
- Not only the children but also their parents are excited about the trip.
- Not only the flowers but also the trees need watering.
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (19/20)
Pronouns and verbs agree in gender and context for words like anybody, everybody, anyone, everyone, each, etc.
- Everybody should do his or her part to protect the environment.
- Everybody is responsible for his or her own success.
- Anyone can pursue his or her passions and achieve greatness.
- Each of the students should bring his or her textbook to class.
- Anyone can achieve his or her dreams with determination and hard work.
20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement (20/20)
“One” is used as a singular pronoun and should be paired with “one’s” and “oneself.”
- One should always respect one’s elders.
- One must take care of oneself in order to stay healthy.
- One cannot achieve success without putting in the effort.
- One should be proud of one’s accomplishments.
- One should always be true to oneself.