I. CORRECT USAGE: Encircle the letter that corresponds to your answer.
1. I received three_________ as a prize.
a. fifty-pesos-bills b.fifties-pesos-bills c. fifthy-peso-bill
d.fifthy-pesos-bills e fifty-peso-bills
2. Overwork_________its toll; he got sick.
a. has took b. have taken c. had took d. has take e. had taken
3.______ of the trouble that we have comes from lack of discipline.
a. many b. much c. a number d. several e. a few
4. Everyone who ___ he can do better than _____ is welcome to prove it.
a. think, I b. think, me c. thinks, I d. thinks, me e. think, his
5.After the president______, he proceeded to his next appointment.
a. has spoken b. will have spoken c. spoken d. speaks e. had spoken
6. We have been taught ______
a. that measles is communicable b. why pollution happen
c. where the factory get raw material d. whenthe next moon landing
e. how the birds and the bees multiplies
7. She will meet you___________.
a. in Monday b. as soon as she has found the time c. on June
d. when the rain stops e. besides the gate
8. Have you ever ___________?
a. climb a mountain b. sing in a choir c. seen a volcano erupting
d. live in a barrio e. amuse yourself with a hobby
9. You and he and _________will always remain good friends.
a. I b. am c. I’m d. me e. mine
10. Neither the boys nor their guide_______.
a. have eaten lunch b. are allowed to leave c. has came home
d. has met the new teacher e. will be here yesterday
11. I’m not busy right now but _______
a. Melinda isn’t b. Mario also c. Rosario is d. neither the boys
e. maybe the others
12. She enjoys cooking, sewing, and __________
a. to go bowling b. how to paint c. playing the piano
d. decorate houses e. write short stories
13. The pineapple juice you served tastes _________
a. sweet b.sweetly c. sweeted d.very sweetness e. very sweetly
14.The PAL plane flies to Jeddah ________
a. every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridaysb. on weekdays and holidays
c. every Sundays d. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays e. all the days
15. I hear there are a lot of people coming to your party. Tell me ____________
a. who are they b. who are there c. who there are
d. who they are e. who are them
II. Identifying errors. Choose and encircle the underlined word or phrase which is not
acceptable in formal written English
1. I advice my friend about social graces.
2. I have realize the importance of education.
3. Neither you or I can be blamed for the mistake.
4. If I were you , I will buy that ring.
5. Did you took the examination last Friday?
6. You can drive now, aren’t you?
7. When he fire broke out yesterday, our neighbos are watching TV.
8. Hi, I’m please to see you today.
9. They do not care weather they pass the test or not.
10. Oscar is the one who’s house was saved from the fire.
11. People which are prejudiced are largely misinformed.
12. Susan will graduatein April 20 of next year.
13. His grades this year are more better than his grades last year.
14. Your not a very practical person, are you?
15. Did Luis and Jodi gave their reports today?
16. One of the kite has caught in a tree.
17. Across the street is the house which I was born.
18. The managersarrived and told Molly and I to prepare our visual aids for the presentation.
19. Obviously, Molly and I were pleased.
20. Jim enjoys swimming more than golf.
There are two s's in omission and in possible.
21. All of the seniors invited they're parents to the party.
22. we should divide the berries among ourself.
23. The oak tree lost the three branch in the typhoon.
24. The tire was flat; besides we called a service station.
25. It is easier to hit the computer than determining the problem.
26. Pat grabbed his coat and rushes out.
27. One of my aunts take a great deal of pride in her furnitures.
28. Joyce and Michaela played games and sing songs.
29. This is the most loveliest day!
30. I wish I were a billionaire.
III. Sentence Completion. Choose the letter of the correct answer that will complete the
1. The road is______________
a. long, winding and full of holes b. long, winding and unpaved
c. long, winding and has many intersections
2. Your parents aren't going abroad, ________?
a. are you? b. were you? c. are they? d. were they?
3. Romille presided over the meeting,__________?
a. doesn't he? b. don't they? c. didn't he? d. didn't they?
The basic rule states that a singular subject takes a singular verb, while a plural subject takes a
NOTE: The trick is in knowing whether the subject is singular or plural. The next trick is
recognizing a singular or plural verb.
Hint: Verbs do not form their plurals by adding an s as nouns do. In order to determine which
verb is singular and which one is plural, think of which verb you would use with he or she and
which verb you would use with they.
Which one is the singular form?
Which word would you use with he?
We say, "He talks." Therefore, talks is singular.
We say, "They talk." Therefore, talk is plural.
Two singular subjects connected by or or nor require a singular verb.
My aunt or my uncle is arriving by train today.
Two singular subjects connected by either/or or neither/nor require a singular verb as in Rule 1.
Neither Juan nor Carmen is available.
Either Kiana or Casey is helping today with stage decorations.
When I is one of the two subjects connected by either/or or neither/nor, put it second and follow
it with the singular verb am.
Neither she nor I am going to the festival.
When a singular subject is connected by or or nor to a plural subject, put the plural subject last
and use a plural verb.
The serving bowl or the plates go on that shelf.
When a singular and plural subject are connected by either/or or neither/nor, put the plural
subject last and use a plural verb.
Neither Jenny nor the others are available.
As a general rule, use a plural verb with two or more subjects when they are connected byand.
A car and a bike are my means of transportation.
Sometimes the subject is separated from the verb by words such as along with, as well as,
besides, or not. Ignore these expressions when determining whether to use a singular or plural
The politician, along with the newsmen, is expected shortly.
Excitement, as well as nervousness, is the cause of her shaking.
The pronouns each, everyone, every one, everybody, anyone, anybody,
someone, andsomebody are singular and require singular verbs. Do not be misled by what
Each of the girls sings well.
Every one of the cakes is gone.
NOTE: Everyone is one word when it means everybody. Every one is two words when the
meaning is each one.
With words that indicate portions—percent, fraction, part, majority, some, all, none, remainder,
and so forth —look at the noun in your of phrase (object of the preposition) to determine whether
to use a singular or plural verb. If the object of the preposition is singular, use a singular verb. If
the object of the preposition is plural, use a plural verb.
Fifty percent of the pie has disappeared.
Pie is the object of the preposition of.
Fifty percent of the pies have disappeared.
Pies is the object of the preposition.
One-third of the city is unemployed.
One-third of the people are unemployed.
NOTE: Hyphenate all spelled-out fractions.
All of the pie is gone.
All of the pies are gone.
Some of the pie is missing.
Some of the pies are missing.
None of the garbage was picked up.
None of the sentences were punctuated correctly.
Of all her books, none have sold as well as the first one.
NOTE: Apparently, the SAT testing service considers none as a singular word only. However,
according to Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, "Clearly none has been both
singular and plural since Old English and still is. The notion that it is singular only is a myth of
unknown origin that appears to have arisen in the 19th century. If in context it seems like a
singular to you, use a singular verb; if it seems like a plural, use a plural verb. Both are
acceptable beyond serious criticism" (p. 664).
The expression the number is followed by a singular verb while the expression a number is
followed by a plural verb.
The number of people we need to hire is thirteen.
A number of people have written in about this subject.
When either and neither are subjects, they always take singular verbs.
Neither of them is available to speak right now.
Either of us is capable of doing the job.
The words here and there have generally been labeled as adverbs even though they indicate
place. In sentences beginning with here or there, the subject follows the verb.
There are four hurdles to jump.
There is a high hurdle to jump.
Use a singular verb with sums of money or periods of time.
Ten dollars is a high price to pay.
Five years is the maximum sentence for that offense.
Sometimes the pronoun who, that, or which is the subject of a verb in the middle of the sentence.
The pronouns who, that, and which become singular or plural according to the noun directly in
front of them. So, if that noun is singular, use a singular verb. If it is plural, use a plural verb.
Salma is the scientist who writes/write the reports.
The word in front of who is scientist, which is singular. Therefore, use the singular verb writes.
He is one of the men who does/do the work.
The word in front of who is men, which is plural. Therefore, use the plural verb do.
Collective nouns such as team and staff may be either singular or plural depending on their use in
The staff is in a meeting.
Staff is acting as a unit here.
The staff are in disagreement about the findings.
The staff are acting as separate individuals in this example.
The sentence would read even better as:
The staff members are in disagreement about the findings.
See the section on Plurals for additional help with subject-verb agreement.
The indefinite pronouns anyone, everyone, someone, no one, nobody are always
singular and, therefore, require singular verbs.
• Everyone has done his or her homework.
• Somebody has left her purse.
Some indefinite pronouns — such as all, some — are singular or plural depending on what
they're referring to. (Is the thing referred to countable or not?) Be careful choosing a verb to
accompany such pronouns.
• Some of the beads are missing.
• Some of the water is gone.
On the other hand, there is one indefinite pronoun, none, that can be either singular or plural; it
often doesn't matter whether you use a singular or a plural verb — unless something else in the
sentence determines its number. (Writers generally think of none as meaning not any and will
choose a plural verb, as in "None of the engines are working," but when something else makes us
regard none as meaningnot one, we want a singular verb, as in "None of the food is fresh.")
• None of you claims responsibility for this incident?
• None of you claim responsibility for this incident?
• None of the students have done their homework. (In this last example, the
word their precludes the use of the singular verb.
Some indefinite pronouns are particularly troublesome Everyone and everybody (listed above,
also) certainly feel like more than one person and, therefore, students are sometimes tempted to
use a plural verb with them. They are always singular, though. Each is often followed by a
prepositional phrase ending in a plural word (Each of the cars), thus confusing the verb
choice. Each,too, is always singular and requires a singular verb.
Everyone has finished his or her homework.
You would always say, "Everybody is here." This means that the word is singular and nothing
will change that.
Each of the students is responsible for doing his or her work in the library.
Don't let the word "students" confuse you; the subject is each and each is always singular —
Each is responsible.
Phrases such as together with, as well as, and along with are not the same as and. The
phrase introduced by as well as or along with will modify the earlier word (mayor in this case),
but it does not compound the subjects (as the word and would do).
• The mayor as well as his brothers is going to prison.
• The mayor and his brothers are going to jail.
The pronouns neither and either are singular and require singular verbs even though
they seem to be referring, in a sense, to two things.
• Neither of the two traffic lights is working.
• Which shirt do you want for Christmas?
Either is fine with me.
In informal writing, neither and either sometimes take a plural verb when these pronouns are
followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with of. This is particularly true of interrogative
constructions: "Haveeither of you two clowns read the assignment?" "Are either of you taking
this seriously?" Burchfield calls this "a clash between notional and actual agreement."*
The conjunction or does not conjoin (as and does): when nor or or is used the subject
closer to the verb determines the number of the verb. Whether the subject comes before or after
the verb doesn't matter; the proximity determines the number.
• Either my father or my brothers are going to sell the house.
• Neither my brothers nor my father is going to sell the house.
• Are either my brothers or my father responsible?
• Is either my father or my brothers responsible?
Because a sentence like "Neither my brothers nor my father is going to sell the house" sounds
peculiar, it is probably a good idea to put the plural subject closer to the verb whenever that is
The words there and here are never subjects.
• There are two reasons [plural subject] for this.
• There is no reason for this.
• Here are two apples.
With these constructions (called expletive constructions), the subject follows the verb but still
determines the number of the verb.
Verbs in the present tense for third-person, singular subjects (he, she, it and anything
those words can stand for) have s-endings. Other verbs do not add s-endings.
He loves and she loves and they love_ and . . . .
Sometimes modifiers will get betwen a subject and its verb, but these modifiers must
not confuse the agreement between the subject and its verb.
The mayor, who has been convicted along with his four brothers on four
counts of various crimes but who also seems, like a cat, to have several political
lives, is finally going to jail.
Sometimes nouns take weird forms and can fool us into thinking they're plural when
they're really singular and vice-versa. Consult the section on the Plural Forms of Nouns and the
section onCollective HYPERLINK
"http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/plurals.htm" Nouns for additional help. Words
such as glasses, pants, pliers, and scissors are regarded as plural (and require plural verbs) unless
they're preceded the phrase pair of (in which case the word pair becomes the subject).
• My glasses were on the bed.
• My pants were torn.
• A pair of plaid trousers is in the closet.
Some words end in -s and appear to be plural but are really singular and require
• The news from the front is bad.
• Measles is a dangerous disease for pregnant women.
On the other hand, some words ending in -s refer to a single thing but are nonetheless plural and
require a plural verb.
• My assets were wiped out in the depression.
• The average worker's earnings have gone up dramatically.
• Our thanks go to the workers who supported the union.
The names of sports teams that do not end in "s" will take a plural verb: the Miami
Heat have been looking … , The Connecticut Sun are hoping that new talent … . See the section
on plurals for help with this problem.
Fractional expressions such as half of, a part of, a percentage of, a majority of are
sometimes singular and sometimes plural, depending on the meaning. (The same is true, of
course, when all, any, more, most and some act as subjects.) Sums and products of mathematical
processes are expressed as singular and require singular verbs. The expression "more than one"
(oddly enough) takes a singular verb: "More than one student has tried this."
• Some of the voters are still angry.
• A large percentage of the older population is voting against her.
• Two-fifths of the troops were lost in the battle.
• Two-fifths of the vineyard was destroyed by fire.
• Forty percent of the students are in favor of changing the policy.
• Forty percent of the student body is in favor of changing the policy.
• Two and two is four.
• Four times four divided by two is eight.
If your sentence compounds a positive and a negative subject and one is plural, the
other singular, the verb should agree with the positive subject.
• The department members but not the chair have decided not to teach on Valentine's
• It is not the faculty members but the president who decides this issue.
• It was the speaker, not his ideas, that has provoked the students to riot.
Multiple-Meaning Words Practice Exercises
Practice 1: A Day at the Park
Read the selection, and then answer the questions that follow.
(1) It's a lazy Saturday. I'm happy just hanging out . . . doing nothing. Then my little brother runs into my room and
announces, "We're going to the park!"
(2) "Have fun," I reply.
(3) "No! Get up and get ready!" he whines, and pulls my arm. "Dad said we're going to make a day of it . . . the
(4) Dad drops us off by the park entrance and goes to park the car. I help Mom unload the picnic basket onto a table.
She's packed a huge covered plate of sandwiches, a bowl of fruit, bags of chips, lots of cookies, and a gigantic
pitcher of iced tea. Mom always makes extra "just in case . . . ," whatever that means!
(5) "Before we eat, will you help me fly my new kite?" pleads my brother. With a sigh, I take his hand and lead him
to a good spot for flying kites. Soon the kite's airborne and looping through the sky! Suddenly, it's harder to spot
because it floats behind a tree.
(6) "Is it lost forever?" asks my brother.
(7) "No, just hiding. There . . . see . . . it's back!" I chuckle as the kite pops back into view.
(8) "Dude!" I hear someone behind me say. "Just the guy I was looking for!" I turn to find Chris, one of my best
(9) "I thought you went to visit your uncle this weekend!" I say.
(10) "No, he had to go away on business, so I'll catch him another time," Chris replies. "Nice kite," he adds, "but I
was hoping to play ball today."
(11) "I'm in," I answer. "We're about to stop. My brother wants Dad to push him on a swing."
(12) So we find more friends to play ball. Suddenly, it's the last inning, the game is tied, and I'm at bat. I see Mom
waving me to come for lunch, so there's nothing to do but hit a homer! I swing, hear the crack of the bat, and head
for home plate. Then I invite the other kids to join us for lunch . . . knowing Mom had made extra! I guess this was
the "just in case!"
1. What is the meaning of the word park as used in the first paragraph?
a. leave a car in a parking lot
b. sit down
c. an open, public area of land used for recreation
d. an arctic jacket
2. Which is NOT a meaning of plate as used in the story?
c. marker for a base
d. coat with metal
3. Which of the following words from paragraph 5 is a multiple-meaning word?
4. The meaning of back as used in paragraph 7 is
a. "a piece connected to the seat of a chair."
b. "the opposite of front."
c. "to return."
d. "to sponsor or give money to."
5. The last paragraph contains all these multiple-meaning words: play, ball, pitcher, tied, bat,swing, and head.
Choose three of the words and write short sentences illustrating at least two meanings for
Practice 2: Crossing Over
Read the selection, and then answer the questions that follow.
(1) Have you ever thought about how important a bridge is? After all, without bridges, how would people get across
rivers and wide gorges? Bridges are an essential part of our transportation system for moving people and goods.
(2) The first bridges were simply trees that fell or were placed across water or canyons. The wood was strong
enough to bear the weight of a person or two at a time, but not for carrying heavy loads. People made bridges by
stretching rope cables across an open area. In China and other places, rope bridges are still used. They're strong
enough to hold people and pack animals with light loads.
(3) Later, people built arch bridges by wedging together large blocks of stone to form a half circle. Arch bridges are
among the strongest and longest-lasting: Some built more than 1,500 years ago are still being used, Even today,
people build arch bridges, but usually from concrete, wood, or steel.
(4) Another kind of bridge is the cantilever. It has two independent steel or concrete beams, one extending toward
the center of a river from each bank. A third beam is lifted up to connect the beams. Canada's Quebec Bridge is one
of the world's longest, spanning 1,800 feet (549 m) across the St. Lawrence River.
(5) A suspension bridge spans even more space with its roadway hanging from steel cables supported by massive
towers. Each cable can hold thousands of pounds of weight. Probably the most familiar suspension bridge is
California's Golden Gate, with a main span of 4,200 feet (1,280 m). When completed in 1937, it was the world's
longest, but in 1964, New York's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge beat that with a span of 4,260 feet(1,298 m). Then in
1981, England's Humber Bridge beat that with a span of 4,626 feet (1,410 m). And since 1998, Japan's Akashi-
Kaikyo Bridge has held the record, with a span of 1,991 feet (6,529 m). Will that record be beaten? Stay tuned!
6. What is the meaning of the word bridge as used in the article?
a. the upper bony part of the nose
b. the part of a ship where the captain works
c. a card game
d. pathway structure over a river or valley
7. Which is NOT a meaning of bear as used in the story?
c. furry mammal
8. What is the meaning of the word beam as used in the article?
a. long piece of heavy wood or metal used in construction
b. width of a ship at its widest part
c. ray of light
9. Which of the following words from the last paragraph is a multiple-meaning word?
10. The meaning of still as used in the article is
d. "even now."
11. What is the meaning of the word light as used in the second paragraph?
c. not heavy
Practice 3: Making Things Move
Read this selection, and then answer the questions that follow.
(1) Did you know that whatever you do, forces are at work on you? That's right. Forces keep your feet on the ground
when you stand. Forces keep you sitting on a chair without slipping off. And a force guarantees that if you jump up,
you're going to come down! Without forces you couldn't hold a pen to write, no matter whether you use
your right or left! In the world of forces, things spin, stretch, twist, and fly, but only if something or someone applies
a push or pull!
(2) Here on Earth, gravity pulls anything at or near the surface toward the center of the planet. Things have weight
because of gravity's pull. The greater the pull, the more an object weighs. We use scales to measure weight. When
you step on a scale, the numbers tell how much force Earth's gravity is pulling between you and the planet itself.
12. What is the meaning of the word pen as used in the first paragraph?
b. writing tool
13. Which is NOT a meaning of the word step?
b. stage or point of directions
14. Which is the meaning of scales as used in the passage?
a. hard pieces that cover an animal's body
b. climbs a steep, rocky hill
c. machines for weighing things
d. draws in relative proportion
5. Here are sample sentences: I'm in a play. / Please play that song again. The prince danced at the ball. / I hit the
ball. Fill the pitcher with cream. / He's a baseball pitcher. She tied the bow. / The score is tied. I bat left-handed.
/ The bat flew away. Sit on this swing. / Swing your arms like this. My head hurts. / Let's head home.