Subject-Verb Agreement
Agreement Present tense verbs in English should agree with  the subject of the sentence Singular subjects use singular v...
Identify the Subject Ignore words that come between the subject and  the verb Reduce sentences to their simplest form   ...
Compound Subjects using “And” Most compound subjects joined by “and” are plural     Bert and Ernie is / are special frien...
Compound Subjects using “Or”   When the subject is joined with “or” or “nor” the verb    agrees with the words closest to...
Indefinite Pronouns Indefinite pronouns are singular     every, everyone, everybody, each, neither, either,     none, one...
Collective Nouns Words such as jury, committee, or herd will be  singular when everyone in the group is acting  together ...
Here, There, and It When the sentence begins with   Here or There, the  subject follows the verb and controls whether the...
Words Ending in S Words such as economics, AIDS, physics and  news are singular     Economics is fun and exciting     The...
Money and Measurement Units of time, money, distance, and weight use  singular verbs    Twenty kilometres is a long dista...
Titles The title of a movie, book or magazine requires a  singular verb     Lost Horizons is a book about a utopia     Th...
Interactive Exercises Click on the button below to get to the interactive  exercises No disk is required
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Subject verb agreement

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Subject verb agreement

  1. 1. Subject-Verb Agreement
  2. 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. 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. 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 Peace is a very thick book (singular) My friend and co-worker is waiting to see you (singular)
  5. 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 students has / have any control over the number of 8 o’clock classes Neither the instructor nor the students has / 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 cards are needed before you can rent movies (plural verb)
  6. 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. 7. Collective Nouns Words such as jury, committee, or herd will be singular when everyone in the group is acting together The jury is / are deciding the fate of the accused The jury is / are deciding the fate of the accused Collective nouns will be plural when the members of the group are not acting together The jury is / are undecided on the guilt of the accused The jury is / are undecided on the guilt of the accused
  8. 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. 9. Words Ending in S Words such as economics, AIDS, physics and news are singular Economics is fun and exciting The news is usually broadcast live Words such as scissors, eyeglasses and pants that name things with two parts are plural My glasses were broken when I did a face plant
  10. 10. Money and Measurement Units of time, money, distance, and weight use singular verbs Twenty kilometres is a long distance to skate to work each day Eight dollars an hour is a poor rate The expression the number is singular The number of failures is decreasing The expression a number is plural A number of people are leaving
  11. 11. Titles The title of a movie, book or magazine requires a singular verb Lost Horizons is a book about a utopia The Simpsons is my favourite TV show
  12. 12. Interactive Exercises Click on the button below to get to the interactive exercises No disk is required

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