Subject verb agreement
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Freely distributed presentation by Red River College. More available at http://xnet.rrc.mb.ca/leshanson/Writing_Resources.htm

Freely distributed presentation by Red River College. More available at http://xnet.rrc.mb.ca/leshanson/Writing_Resources.htm

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Subject verb agreement Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Subject-Verb Agreement
  • 2. Agreement
    Present tense verbs in English should agree with the subject of the sentence
    Singular subjects use singular verbs
    Jack robs liquor stores (s on the verb)
    Plural subjects use plural verbs
    Bonnie and Clyde rob banks (no s on the verb)
    Most native speaker do this instinctively
    More complex problems require you to learn a few rules
  • 3. Identify the Subject
    Ignore words that come between the subject and the verb
    Reduce sentences to their simplest form
    A good set of skis costs / cost hundreds of dollars
    A good set of skis costs / cost hundreds of dollars
    A good set of skis costs hundreds of dollars
    My boss, as well as her staff, leave / leaves early every Friday
    My boss, as well as her staff, leave / leaves early every Friday
    My boss, as well as her staff, leaves early every Friday
  • 4. Compound Subjects using “And”
    Most compound subjects joined by “and” are plural
    Bert and Ernie is / are special friends
    Bert and Ernie is / are special friends (plural verb)
    Exception: If the words joined by “and” refer to a single thing, the subject is also singular
    War and Peaceis a very thick book (singular)
    My friend and co-worker is waiting to see you (singular)
  • 5. Compound Subjects using “Or”
    When the subject is joined with “or” or “nor” the verb agrees with the words closest to the verb
    Neither the instructor nor the studentshas / have any control over the number of 8 o’clock classes
    Neither the instructor nor the studentshas / have any control over the number of 8 o’clock classes (plural verb)
    Either two credit cards or a membership is / are needed before you can rent movies
    Either two credit cards or a membership is / are needed before you can rent movies (singular verb)
    Note: While the above example is correct, it is usually better to place the plural word closer to the verb
    Either a membership or two credit cardsare needed before you can rent movies (plural verb)
  • 6. Indefinite Pronouns
    Indefinite pronouns are singular
    every, everyone, everybody, each, neither, either, none, one, no one
    Every student has / have a unique student number
    Every student has / have a unique student number
    None of us admit / admits to sending the e-mail message
    None of us admit / admits to sending the e-mail message
    Ignore prepositional phrases coming between the subject and the verb
    Each of the five departments is / are hiring new instructors
    Each of the five departments is / are hiring new instructors
  • 7. Collective Nouns
    Words such as jury,committee, or herd will be singularwhen everyone in the group is acting together
    The juryis / are deciding the fate of the accused
    The juryis / are deciding the fate of the accused
    Collective nouns will beplural when the members of the group are not acting together
    The juryis / are undecided on the guilt of the accused
    The juryis / are undecided on the guilt of the accused
  • 8. Here, There, and It
    When the sentence begins with Here or There, the subject follows the verb and controls whether the verb is plural
    Here are my reasons for quitting (plural)
    There is no need to pay me next week (singular)
    It is always singular
    It was the long hours that bothered me (singular)
  • 9. Words Ending in S
    Words such as economics, AIDS,physics and news are singular
    Economicsis fun and exciting
    The newsis usually broadcast live
    Words such as scissors, eyeglasses and pants that name things with two parts are plural
    My glasseswere broken when I did a face plant
  • 10. Money and Measurement
    Units of time, money, distance, and weight use singular verbs
    Twenty kilometresis a long distance to skate to work each day
    Eight dollars an houris a poor rate
    The expression thenumber is singular
    The number of failures is decreasing
    The expression anumber is plural
    A number of people are leaving
  • 11. Titles
    The title of a movie, book or magazine requires a singular verb
    Lost Horizonsis a book about a utopia
    The Simpsonsis my favourite TV show
  • 12. Interactive Exercises
    Click on the button below to get to the interactive exercises
    No disk is required