Abia, May S. Baluyut, Vannyve P.

BSA 1-2

SUBJECT VERB AGREEMENT
The subject and the verb must agree in number: both must be singular or both must be plural. Students have problems with subject verb agreement when the verb is a form of be or have, or when the verb is in present tense. Rules for subject verb agreement

1. When words like the following are used as subjects, they take singular verb.
Everybody Everyone Everything Anybody Anyone Anything Somebody Someone Something Nobody No one Nothing Each Either Neither

Everybody knows the answer. Nobody speaks German here. Somebody was in the room.

2. When every and each come before a singular subject joined by and, the verb is singular.
Every man and woman has the right to vote. Each student and teacher was aware of the difficulty.

3. Prepositional phrases that come between the subject and the verb do not change the number
of the subject.

The teacher as well as the students was working on the problem. The mother together with her children is waiting.

Some examples of prepositional phrases that function like that are: -As well as -Together with -In addition to -Along with -Except

6. shorts. There seems to be a relationship. Subjects joined by and take a plural verb (except for number 2). Both the teacher and the student were surprised. My sister and brother live in Berlin. There arises a problem. jeans Glasses. it agrees with the subject that immediately follows the verb. When the verb comes before the subject as in there or here sentences. sunglasses Scissors. Several. Both are happy with the grades they got. few are plural words and take a plural verb. There are many trees in the garden.4. Where are my scissors? . It is my cats which cause the trouble. Some nouns are always plural and always take a plural verb. briefs. 7. pliers. • • • Trousers. There is a pine tree and some oaks in the garden. slacks. “Introductory it” is always singular. both. Many were lost on the way. This year shorts are in fashion. There goes the cat. Few have done their homework. It is my sister who works in the hospital. There arise problems. There is a tree in the garden. pants. 5. tweezers My jeans are old. 8. many.

Either the man or his friends know the answer. They take singular or plural verb depending on the meaning. fish. My family have a lot of money. There are many species of monkeys. Collective nouns are usually singular when regarded as a unit. My family lives in Ankara. team. not only the verb must agree with the closer subject. sheep . deer. series. majority. most. Some words such as none. committee 5. any. class. (team members) • Some collective nouns in this group are: Family. All the money has been spent. Either the man or his wife knows the answer. crew. these collective nouns may be plural. half may take either singular or plural verbs depending on the meaning. Some nouns have the same singular and plural form. When subjects are joined by words such as neither. more. (members of my family) Our team are working hard to win every game they play. government. Our team has won every game this year. some. This species of monkeys lives only in India. 4. Either the children or the man knows the answer.2. • Some nouns in this group are: Species. All of the students know the answer. all. 3. Sometimes when the members are seen as functioning independently. either.

6. Two hundred dollars is a lot of money. weight. Note the use of foreign plurals. 8. Statistics requires complicated methods. volume are plural in form but take a singular verb as in: Three weeks is a long time. money. The young like to listen to loud music. Expressions stating amount of time. Some nouns look plural with –s but they take a singular verb. 9. Generic references with the required plural verb. Sciences Physics Mathematics Statistics Economics Abstract nouns News Politics Ethics Diseases Measles Mumps Math is found difficult by many students. The rich are not always happy. 7. The English are distant and the French are humorous. The old hate loud music. Singular Analysis Thesis Crisis Basis Parenthesis Plural Analyses Theses Crises Bases Parentheses .

Lisa is one of the students who have passed with an A. Plural Child Person Singular Children People 11.) . (Only Lisa passed with an A. A relative pronoun takes a singular or plural verb depending on which noun it modifies. Lisa is one of them.Curriculum Memorandum Datum Bacterium Medium Curricula Memoranda Data Bacteria Media Criterion Phenomenon Criteria Phenomena Stimulus Radius Syllabus Stimuli Radii Syllabi 10. (Many students passed with an A.) Lisa is the only one of my students who has passed with an A. Don’t forget that some common English words have irregular plurals.

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