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Subject verb agreement 2


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  • 1. UWF Writing Lab Rules of Thumb for SUBJECT/VERB AGREEMENT from Real Good Grammar, Too by Mamie Webb Hixon
  • 2. Rule 1
    • Use a verb ending in –s if your subject is a he, she, or it.
    • Singular subjects include, but are not limited to, these:
      • Singular nouns:
        • A list of phone numbers is available.
        • A major problem is smokers.
      • Singular indefinite pronouns:
        • Each of us has a key.
      • Subjects preceded by each , every , or many a :
        • Every Tom, Dick, and Harriet has an opinion.
  • 3. Singular Subjects, cont.
      • Subjects preceded by the number of :
        • The number of students attending college is very high.
      • Titles/names of companies, books, plays, movies, etc.:
        • The Centers for Disease Control is in Atlanta, Georgia.
      • Gerunds:
        • Recycling telephone directories helps save landfill space each year.
      • Relative pronouns referring to singular antecedents:
        • Ora is the only one in the group who smokes .
      • Subjects joined by or, nor, either…or, or neither…nor :
        • Neither the players nor the coach was present.
  • 4. Rule 2
    • Use a verb that does not end in –s if your subject is a they .
    • Plural subjects include, but are not limited to, these:
      • Subjects joined by or, nor, either…or, or neither…nor :
        • Neither the coach nor the players were present.
      • Plural indefinite pronouns:
        • Both of us have a key.
  • 5. Plural Subjects, cont.
      • Plural nouns:
        • The scissors are lying on the desk.
      • Subjects preceded by a number of :
        • A number of students are majoring in law.
      • Relative pronouns referring to plural antecedents:
        • He is one of the millions of people who smoke .
  • 6. Rule 3
    • Ignore prepositional phrases:
      • A list of phone numbers is available.
    • Ignore there and here at the beginning of a sentence:
      • There are three books on the censored list.
    • Ignore appositives:
      • They each have a ticket.
    • Ignore words synonymous with the subject:
      • Clothes are her passion . Her passion is clothes .
  • 7. Rule 4
    • Some subjects may be singular or plural depending on the meaning of the subject.
      • Some of the food is cold.
      • Some of the vegetables are cold.
      • The cast was congratulated.
      • The cast were practicing their lines.
      • Fifteen minutes is a long time.
      • Fifteen minutes remain .
      • Statistics is a difficult course.
      • Divorce statistics are alarmingly high.
  • 8. Let’s Practice!!!
    • The sheriff along with two of her deputies (were, was) checking licenses at the North Road exit.
    • WAS
    • Some of the lots in our subdivision (was, were) not for sale.
    • WERE
    • Here (is, are) the transistors and diodes that you purchased for your repair shop.
    • ARE
    • Genetics (is, are) very difficult for beginning students to understand.
    • IS
  • 9. More Practice!!!
    • The number of girls in my football club (was, were) surprising.
    • WAS
    • A number of the swimmers (is, are) going to the state competition.
    • ARE
    • There (is, are) some error messages showing up in my program.
    • ARE
    • Neither Betty nor Jane (type, types) more than fifty words per minute.
    • TYPES