SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT Basic Rule The basic rule states that a singular subject takes a singular verb

, while a plural subject takes a plural verb. 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 o not !or" their plurals b# a ing an s as nouns o. $n or er to eter"ine which verb is singular an which one is plural, think o! which verb #ou woul use with he or she an which verb #ou woul use with the#. Exa"ple: talks, talk %hich one is the singular !or"& %hich wor woul #ou use with he& %e sa#, 'He talks.' There!ore, talks is singular. %e sa#, 'The# talk.' There!ore, talk is plural. Rule 1 Two singular subjects connecte b# or or nor re(uire a singular verb. Example: )# aunt or "# uncle is arriving b# train to a#. Rule 2 Two singular subjects connecte b# either*or or neither*nor re(uire a singular verb as in +ule ,. Examples: Neither -uan nor .ar"en is available. Either /iana or .ase# is helping to a# with stage ecorations. Rule 3 %hen $ is one o! the two subjects connecte b# either*or or neither*nor, put it secon an !ollow it with the singular verb a". Example: Neither she nor $ a" going to the !estival. Rule 4 %hen a singular subject is connecte b# or or nor to a plural subject, put the plural subject last an use a plural verb. Example: The serving bowl or the plates go on that shel!. Rule 5 %hen a singular an plural subject are connecte b# either*or or neither*nor, put the plural subject last an use a plural verb. Example: Neither -enn# nor the others are available.

6i!t# percent o! the pies have isappeare . 1o"e o! the pies are "issing. NOTE: H#phenate all spelle 8out !ractions. "ajorit#. Rule 7 1o"eti"es the subject is separate !ro" the verb b# wor s such as along with. One8thir o! the cit# is une"plo#e . an so"ebo # are singular an re(uire singular verbs. Example: 0 car an a bike are "# "eans o! transportation. $! in context it see"s like a singular to #ou. None o! the garbage was picke up. besi es. NOTE: Ever#one is one wor when it "eans ever#bo #. use a plural verb with two or "ore subjects when the# are connecte b#an . along with the news"en. 7ies is the object o! the preposition. use a singular verb< i! it see"s like a plural. Excite"ent. The notion that it is singular onl# is a "#th o! unknown origin that appears to have arisen in the . none. O! all her books. so"e.. $! the object o! the preposition is singular. Examples: Each o! the girls sings well. Rule 9 %ith wor s that in icate portions3percent. is the cause o! her shaking. none have sol as well as the !irst one. None o! the sentences were punctuate correctl#. '. as well as nervousness. Rule 8 The pronouns each. an so !orth 3look at the noun in #our o! phrase 4object o! the preposition5 to eter"ine whether to use a singular or plural verb. is expecte shortl#. 2o not be "isle b# what !ollows o!. all. 1o"e o! the pie is "issing. so"eone. 0ll o! the pie is gone. Examples: The politician. part. an#bo #. re"ain er. or not. use a singular verb. One8thir o! the people are une"plo#e .th centur#. as well as.learl# none has been both singular an plural since Ol English an still is. . 0ll o! the pies are gone.Rule 6 0s a general rule. Ever# one is two wor s when the "eaning is each one. $gnore these expressions when eter"ining whether to use a singular or plural verb. Ever# one o! the cakes is gone. 7ie is the object o! the preposition o!. ever#bo #. use a plural verb. =oth are acceptable be#on serious criticis". ever# one. ever#one. an#one. Examples: 6i!t# percent o! the pie has isappeare . NOTE: 0ccor ing to )erria" %ebster9s 2ictionar# o! English :sage. use a plural verb. $! the object o! the preposition is plural. !raction.

Rule 14 1o"eti"es the pronoun who. Examples: There are !our hur les to ju"p. There!ore. $n sentences beginning with here or there. There is a high hur le to ju"p. which is plural. Rule 12 The wor s here an there have generall# been labele as a verbs even though the# in icate place. $! it is plural.Rule 1 The expression the nu"ber is !ollowe b# a singular verb while the expression a nu"ber is !ollowe b# a plural verb. an which beco"e singular or plural accor ing to the noun irectl# in !ront o! the". use the plural verb o. which is singular. M!S"#ACE$ M%$!&!ERS . Examples: Ten ollars is a high price to pa#. use a plural verb. He is one o! the "en who oes* o the work. 0 nu"ber o! people have written in about this subject. the subject !ollows the verb. i! that noun is singular. Examples: The sta!! is in a "eeting. or which is the subject o! a verb in the "i le o! the sentence. Either o! us is capable o! oing the job. Rule 13 :se a singular verb with su"s o! "one# or perio s o! ti"e. use a singular verb. that. The pronouns who. that. Examples: 1al"a is the scientist who writes*write the reports. 1o.ollective nouns such as tea" an sta!! "a# be either singular or plural epen ing on their use in the sentence. Rule 11 %hen either an neither are subjects. There!ore. The sta!! are in isagree"ent about the !in ings. Examples: The nu"ber o! people we nee to hire is thirteen. The wor in !ront o! who is "en. Examples: Neither o! the" is available to speak right now. the# alwa#s take singular verbs. The sentence woul rea even better as: The sta!! "e"bers are in isagree"ent about the !in ings. 1ta!! is acting as a unit here. Rule 15 . use the singular verb writes. The sta!! are acting as separate in ivi uals in this exa"ple. The wor in !ront o! who is scientist. 6ive #ears is the "axi"u" sentence !or that o!!ense.

=ecause o! the separation.orrecte . . ri iculous. Exa"ple .e a.. the# can be ownright illogical.e se1e. . Exa"ple Now it is the .al 2i+)s (3 *is4lace) *()i3ie. or clause that is i"properl# separate !ro" the wor it "o i!ies * escribes. Exa"ple The exa"ple above suggests that a '(l) *a+ owns a watch.a-c/ that is '(l)0 T/e. or con!using. )isplace "o i!iers can usuall# be c(.0 "isplace "o i!ier is a wor . 6urther"ore. generall# next to the wor it "o i!ies. sentences with this error o!ten soun awkwar .orrect the error b# placing the a jective next to the noun it modifies. phrase.ec-e) b# moving the "o i!ier to a "ore sensible place in the sentence.s5 10 Mis4lace) a)6ec-i1es are incorrectl# separate !ro" the nouns the# "o i!# an al"ost alwa#s istort the inten e "eaning.

8s can also change "eaning in sentences.i-i+'0 20 "lace*e+. there!ore. . 6or exa"ple.orrecte 1entences like these are co""on in ever# a# speech an or inaril# cause their listeners no trouble. Just "eans (+l7 J(/+ was picke .a*9 +(-/i+' else: Each o! these sentences sa#s so"ething logical but (uite different. the# are (uite i"precise an .5 Just "eans that -ohn hoste (+l7 -/e 4. .Exa"ple > .. the sentences below illustrate how the place"ent o! just can change the sentence9s "eaning. +( (+e else: Just "eans that -ohn was picke +(.(3 a)1e.('. an its correctness epen s upon what the writer has in "in . s/(ul) /a1e N% 4lace i+ 7(u. However.

there!ore. but also creates a sentence whose "eaning is highl# unlikel# or co"pletel# ri iculous. %atch out !or a verbs such as only. !or exa"ple. This sentence. a verbs are co""onl# "isplace in ever# a# speech. the sentence "eans that $ contribute onl# :1 0 0 ?ike a jectives. 4a bu#er with leather seats&5 . "eans that $ onl# c(+-.. The# are o!ten "isplace an cause an uninten e "eaning. s/(ul) /a1e N% 4lace i+ 7(u. However. suggests that we brought a lunch slowly: To repair the "eaning.i8u-e) the "one#: +epaire . Exa"ple . !or exa"ple. merely.i-i+'0 30 Mis4lace) 4/. The proble" sentences below contain "isplace phrases that "o i!# the wrong nouns. This sentence. "ove the a verb slowl# so that it is near ate. To !ix the errors an clari!# the "eaning.ases "a# cause a sentence to soun awkwar an "a# create a "eaning that oes not "ake sense. an "a# not cause listeners i!!icult#. . nearly. just.O!ten. put the phrases next to the noun the# are suppose to "o i!#. an almost. misplacing an adverb not onl# alters the inten e "eaning. such sentences are (uite i"precise an . however.

The proble" sentences below contain "isplace clauses that "o i!# the wrong nouns. .orrecte Exa"ple @ 4a house "a e o! barbe wire&5 .orrecte Exa"ple > 4a corner s"oking pipes&5 .orrecte 40 Mis4lace) clauses "a# cause a sentence to soun awkwar an "a# create a "eaning that oes not "ake sense..

4"eaning the essa#s will be returne on )on a#5 . Exa"ple ".orrection A. Exa"ple .orrecte Exa"ple > 4a ha"per that +alph wore&5 . put the clauses next to the noun the# are suppose to "o i!#.e-u. on9t create a sentence with two possible "eanings.To !ix the errors an clari!# the "eaning.e3ul.(8le*5 2i the teacher sa7 this on )on a# or will she .+ the essa#s on )on a#&5 . 4a buttere wo"an&5 .orrecte Be ca. $n correcting a "isplace "o i!ier.

the sentence suggests that the cl(u) is oing the looking. the angling "o i!ier appears at the beginning o! the sentence.e. is place next to5. Two notes about angling "o i!iers: • • :nlike a "isplace "o i!ier. a angling "o i!ier cannot be correcte b# si"pl# "oving it to a i!!erent place in a sentence. is sitting next to the funnel shaped cloud. $n !act.. Exa"ple > This sentence "eans that "# "other enrolle in "e ical when she was nine #ears ol B . This sentence oes not speci!# . 1ince the "o i!ier looking toward the west./( is looking toward the west.orrection A> 4"eaning that the teacher spoke on )on a#5 $ANG#!NG M%$!&!ERS 0 )a+'li+' *()i3ie. there is nothing at all in the sentence to which the "o i!#ing phrase looking toward the west can logicall# re!er. Exa"ple . $n "ost cases. 1o"eti"es the angling "o i!ier error occurs because the sentence !ails to speci!# an#thing to which the "o i!ier can re!er. is a phrase or clause that is not clearl# an logicall# relate to the wor or wor s it "o i!ies 4i. although it can also co"e at the en .

ec. Thus. angling "o i!iers result in inaccurate an so"eti"es ludicrous state"ents. =(.e. =ecause o! the place"ent o! walking to the movies. -( c(.)a+'li+' *()i3ie.as 3i<e) -/e +i'/. ..-( the ter" it "o i!ies.. this angling "o i!ier . @. >.iscilla .s 2angling "o i!iers "a# be correcte in two general wa#s.. 0s the above exa"ples show. the sentence "eans that ". This change will put the "o i!ier +e<.8e3(. Exa"ple > 1ince having been fixed the night before is place next to Priscilla.ec-i(+ Me-/() >1 . Exa"ple .hange the "ain part o! the sentence so that it 8e'i+s with the ter" ac-uall7 *()i3ie).0t other ti"es the angling "o i!ier is place next to the wrong noun or noun substitute. this sentence suggests that the cloudburst is walking to the movies even though a possible walker 8 Jim 8 is "entione later. C(. ?eave the "o i!ier as it is.

?eave the rest o! the sentence as it is.e+c/e) 87 -/e cl(u)8u.as ).a. this angling "o i!ier "a# be correcte to Now the sentence "eans that Ji* ..) -/e . Thus. >.ec-i(+ Me-/() >2 .as l((2i+' -(. the angling "o i!ier "a# be correcte to . creating a subject an verb.es-0 :sing the sa"e "etho .. ."a# be correcte to Now the sentence "eans that ! .s-0 C(.hange the angling "o i!ier phrase to a subor inate clause.

.(+(u+ is a wor use to stan !or 4or take the place o!5 a +(u+. Exa"ple: %e o not talk or write this wa#. 4not 7riscillaB5 was !ixe . we sa# The pronoun his re!ers back to President Lincoln. the angling "o i!ier "a# be correcte to Now the sentence "eans that the ca.Now the sentence "eans that ! 4not "# "otherB5 was nine #ears ol when "# "other enrolle in "e ical school. 0uto"aticall#. . :sing the sa"e "etho . 0 wor can re!er to an earlier noun or pronoun in the sentence. we replace the noun Lincoln's with a pronoun. "R%N%UN-ANTECE$ENT AGREEMENT 0 4. President Lincoln is the ANTECE$ENT !or the pronoun his. )ore naturall#.lick on the link below to co"plete the !inal exercise.

4ante C 'be!ore'5 The pronoun "ust agree with its antece ent in nu"ber. Exa"ple: 20 !+)e3i+i-e 4.ase (.is a wor !or which a pronoun stan s. These rules are relate to the rules !oun in subject8verb agree"ent. both.(+(u+s as a+-ece)e+-s • 1ingular in e!inite pronoun antece ents take singular pronoun re!erents. the "echanics o! the sentence above look like this: Here are nine pronoun8antece ent agree"ent rules. clause 8e-.a+) 1e.0n a+-ece)e+. Exa"ple: • 7lural in e!inite pronoun antece ents re(uire plural re!erents. Thus. few. Rule5 0 singular pronoun "ust replace a singular noun< a plural pronoun "ust replace a plural noun. 7?:+0?: several. many Exa"ple: .ee+ -/e su86ec.8 oes not change the nu"ber o! the antece ent. 10 A 4/.

• 1o"e in e!inite pronouns that are "o i!ie b# a prepositional phrase "a# be either singular or plural. all. the sentence has a singular re!erent pronoun. most E xa"ples: 1ugar is uncountable< there!ore. E$THE+ 1$ND:?0+ O+ 7?:+0?: some. none. . any. the sentence has a plural re!erent pronoun. E xa"ples: )arbles are countable< there!ore. -ewelr# is uncountable< there!ore. the sentence has a singular re!erent pronoun.

4plural antece ent closer to pronoun5: Exa"ple A> 4singular antece ent closer to pronoun5: Note: Exa"ple A. the re!erent pronoun agrees with the antece ent closer to the pronoun. Exa"ple: 40 %ith c(*4(u+) su86ec-s 6(i+e) 87 or/nor. creates a s"oother sentence than exa"ple A>.al re!erent. .-ewels are countable< there!ore. crow . the re!erent pronoun is singular. $n this exa"ple. with the plural antece ent closer to the pronoun. etc. jur#. the jur# is acting as one unit< there!ore.. epen ing on "eaning.5 "a# be singular or plural. Exa"ple A. which !orces the use o! the singular 'his or her. tea". 30 C(*4(u+) su86ec-s 6(i+e) 87 and alwa#s take a 4lu.' 50 C(llec-i1e N(u+s 4group. the sentence has a plural re!erent pronoun.

*ea+i+' take a singular re!erent. EE0)7?E1: 70 "lu.al 3(. countries. (news. EE0)7?E1: .5 take a singular re!erent.* su86ec-s . physics.$n this exa"ple. etc) EE0)7?E: 80 very or !any a be!ore a noun or a series o! nouns re(uires a singular re!erent. the re!erent pronoun is plural. 60 Ti-les (3 si+'le e+-i-ies0 4books. organizations. $n this exa"ple. mumps. the re!erent pronoun is plural. measles. etc.i-/ a si+'ula. the jur# "e"bers are acting as twelve in ivi uals< there!ore. the jur# "e"bers are acting as twelve in ivi uals< there!ore.

• # number of is plural. # number of be!ore a subject: • "he number of is singular.90 "he number of vs. .

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