The definition of subject/verb agreement
The subject and verb of a sentence should always agree with each other. If the
subject is in singular, so the verb must be in singular. In other hand, if the
subject is in plural, so the verb must be in plural.
The students, with 20 classes left in the semester, intend to attend all the
The student, with 20 classes left in the semester, intends to attend all the
Subject and Verb Agreement Rules
1. If the subject is singular (refers to one person or
thing), the verb will have an -s ending.
Examples: The boy walks home.
He throws the ball.
The cat plays.
2. If the subject is plural (refers to more than one
person or thing),the verb will not end in s.
Examples: The girls write long essays.
The computers work well.
3. The pronouns each, either, neither, one, everyone, no one,
nobody, anyone, anybody, someone, everybody, and much are
singular and will require a verb with an -s ending.
Examples: Everyone in the class is going on the trip.
Neither teacher plans to cover the entire textbook.
4. The pronouns several, few, both, many, and others are plural
and require a verb without an -s ending.
Examples: Several of my friends work in the library.
Many on the honor roll study long hours.
5. The pronouns some, any, none, all, and most may
be either singular or plural.
Examples: Some of the cake was eaten.
All of the contestants were present.
6. When a sentence has two or more subjects joined by
and, a verb without an s is needed.
Students and teachers park in front of the
Pizza, cake and ice cream have always been his
7. When a sentence has two or more subjects joined by or or nor,
choose a verb that agrees with the subject closest to it.
Examples: Fudge or cookies are a good choice for dessert.
Neither Tammy nor her sister likes to travel.
8. When every or many a comes before a subject, the verb should have
an -s ending.
Examples: Every man, woman and child remembers that cold winter.
Many a woman chooses motherhood over a career.
9. There and here are never subjects when they appear at the
beginning of a sentence.
The subject will come later in the sentence. Make certain to identify the
correct word as the subject before choosing a verb.
Examples: There is the jacket I lost.
Here are the library books you needed.
These words which also do not influence to the verb, such
as: together with, as well as, along with, accompanied by.
- The mayor as well as his brothers is going to prison.
- The actress, along with her manager and some friends, is
going to party tonight.
- Mr. Robin, accompanied by his wife and children is
If the conjunction AND is used in a sentence, so the verb
must be in plural. Example: the actress and her manager
are going to the party tonight.
Word that always take singular verbs and pronoun
Some words which put the verb and singular pronoun.
Anyone no one
Everybody who has not purchased a ticket should be in this line.
Something was under the house.
Anybody who has lost his ticket should report to the desk.
Everyone has done his or her homework.
Somebody has left her purse.
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.
Each of the students is responsible for doing his or
her work in the library.
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.
None + of the + non-count noun + singular verb
none of the counterfeit money has been found.
None + of the + plural count noun + plural
None of the students have finished the exam yet.
Either/neither is followed by or/nor. So, the verb can be
in singular or plural. It depends on the noun after
or/nor is in singular or plural.
Neither + noun + nor + plural noun + plural verb
Either + noun + or + plural noun + plural verb
Neither john nor his friends are going to the beach
Either my sisters or my brothers live in Jakarta.
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
Is either my father or my brothers
3. Gerund as subject
If a sentence is started by gerund (verb-ing), so the verb
must be in singular.
Example: growing flower is her body.
Writing many letters makes her happy.
Washing with special cream is recommended for
but, there are two or more subjects as subject, so the verb
must be in plural.
Example: writing and reading are interesting subject.
Drawing and painting are Tom’s hobbies.
4. Collective nouns
Collective nouns are words that imply more than one
person but that are considered
singular nouns. These include group, team, committee,
class, and family, organization, government, army, jury,
congress, club, minority, public, crowd. These collective
nouns take a singular verb.
the family has a big house.
The organization has lot many members this year.
Our team is going to win the game.
5. A number of/the number of
A number of + plural noun + plural
a number of students are going to the class picnic.
A number of members have schedule to come in a meeting.
The number of + plural noun + singular
the number of days in a week is seven.
The number of boys play football in the yard.
7. There is/there are
There was has been
+ singular subject/noun count.
Example: there is a storm.
There was an accident last night.
There have been
+ plural subject…….
Example: there have been a number of telephone calls today.
There were too many people at the party last night.