Subject/Verb Agreement--ONE

English Grammar - Subject-Verb Agreement




***Subject/Verb Agreement***




In subject/verb agreement, the VERB must agree with the SUBJECT in number.  Simply put, if the subject is singular, then the verb must be singular as well.  Likewise, if the subject is plural, the verb must be plural. 


A SUBJECT must agree in number with its VERB or VERB PHRASE.


          Singular refers to ONE---dog, cat, girl, group, company


�         Plural refers to TWO or more---dogs, cats, girls, groups, companies



A singular subject takes a singular verb


A plural subject taks a plural verb.



(I and You often take plural verbs even though they both are singular)


I (do, does) the dishes often.  (do)


You (are, is) in a lot of trouble.  (are)





                        Hector (is, are) the winner.  [You must choose IS because Hector is singular, The singular verb is IS.]



                        The large group (were, was) going on a trip together.  [You must choose WAS because group is singular. The singular verb is WAS.]



Interrupting words [words that are between a subject and its verb have nothing to do with deciding SUBJECT/VERB agreement.  Ignore those interrupting words.  ALWAYS FIND THE SUBJECT FIRST.]








                                The cat on the back porch (is, are) a stray. 


[Cat is the subject and it is singular.  Therefore the verb IS must be used because it is singular.  Ignore on the back porch as it only interrupts the subject from its verb.]


                                The animals in the city zoo (was, were) well taken care of.



[Animals is the subject and it is plural.  Therefore the verb WERE must be used because it is plural.  Ignore in the city zoo as it only interrupts the subject from its verb.]


                Choose the correct verb in the following sentences:


                        The little lady (is, are) my next door neighbor.


                        My llamas over by the old barn (were, was) eating.


                        The entire team (grows, grow) watermelons for fun.



Verb Phrases:


      A subject must agree with all parts of a verb phrase.  


                                  has gone                                   

                               have gone

                                   does run

                                       did run



         Ted (has gone/have gone) to the store to get milk.  (Ted is singular.  Therefore, you must choose HAS GONE, becaue HAS is singular)






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Rules for Compound Subject 

Subject/Verb Agreement

When a compound subject is jouned by the conjuctions OR, NOR, EITHER/OR or NEITHER/NOR, the subject nearest the verb decides singular or plural.




Neither the dog nor the cat (is, are) sleeping in the den.  [Cat is the subject nearest the verb chose.  Cat is singular, so the singular verb IS must be used.)


Apples, pears, or a banana (were, was)the missing ingredient in the pie.  [Banana is the subject closest to the verb.  Banana is singular, so the singualr verb WAS must be used.)




When a compound subject is joined by the conjuctions  AND or BOTH/AND the subject is always considers plural.  Therefore, a plural verb must be chosen.  




The boy and the girl (was, were) late for the class.  [Since and is being used to connect two subjects, the subject is plural.  A plural verb is therefore required.]


My little dogs and his one cat (go, goes) to the vet on Thursday.  [Because and is being used to connect two subjects, the subject is plural.  A plural verb is there required.]


Tomato, lettuce, and bacon (is, are) my favorite sandwich.  [Tomator, lettuce, and bacon is one sandwhich (one unit) so it is considered to be singular.  You would have to use the singular verb IS.]



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