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WHAT IS CONCORD?

According to my Mobile Phone dictionary; concord means a state of agreement; union; harmony.

Many English language scholars define Concord as agreement between subject and verb in a sentence.

Concord is the agreement between subject and verb in a sentence

In order to understand how subject agrees with verb in a sentence, we must be able to;

(i) Identify subject in a sentence

(ii) Identify if subject in a sentence is plural or singular

(iii) Master the Rules .

1) How to Identify Subject in a sentence :

Subject in a sentence can be person or things being discussed.

(It can be a single noun). Example;

Lukgaf is my friend. Lukgaf is the subject, because, discussion is about him. And Lukgaf is a single noun

(it can be a determiner + a noun ).

Example : The government is in charge of the distribution system. The government is the subject
because we are discussing about the government that is in charge of the distribution. (The) is a
determiner while (government) is a noun

(it can be a pronoun) Example;

He wrote a book some months ago.

He is the subject, because we are discussing about the person who wrote a book some months ago. And
He , as a pronoun, represents the person.

(it can be a long construct)

Example: Journal of the Nigeria English Studies Association is published by the faculty of Arts, University
of Benin. Journal of the Nigeria English Studies Association is the subject in the sentence because, the
discussion is about the Journal of the Nigeria English Studies Association. And is a long construct .
2) Identify if subject is a singular or Plural .

We all know that Singular means only one and Plural means two or more than. Most singular words do
not take ' s ' e.g. A boy. Except some words like; Mathematics , Scabies , Economics etc. While most
plural words take ' s ' (e.g. Boys ) or ' es '(e.g. Churches ) while some are in plural form without ' s ' or ' es
' (e.g. Men ).

We must, however, identify if subject in a sentence is singular or plural, so as for us to ensure


appropriate concord or agreement between subject and verb, when applying the rules.

Basic Rule : The rule says singular subject( I , she , he , it , Fikkie etc.) takes a singular verb( am , is , was ,
had , has etc.),

Example : The Mock Exam Time Table is on Lukgaf desk. The Mock Exam Time Table is the subject in the
sentence and it is a singular subject, so it must take a singular verb.

whereas, a plural subject(They, we, you, men, takes a plural verb ( are , were , have etc.)

Example : They are here for the lecture. They is the subject and is plural, because, it(they) stands for
two or more people, it will however take a plural verb are

Rule 1: subjects and verbs must agree in number. This is the cornerstone rule that forms the background
of the concept.

This rule will explain to us how Subjects agree in number with lexical verbs.

Lexical verb: are doing or action words. Eg. Dance,wash,read,write,sleep e.t.c

The rule says, if subject in a sentence is singular, the lexical verb will be plural(i.e, it will take 's'). E.g.
The dog growls when he is angry.

Explanation: the dog is the subject and it's singular, it will take a plural verb growls , as stated by the
rule.

In the other hand, if the subject is plural, the verb will be singular(it will not take s) Eg. The dogs growl
when he is angry.

Explanation: the dogs is the subject and it's plural, it will take a singular verb growls, as stated by the
rule.

Lekan give us another example with explanation.


Rule 2: Don't get confused by the words that come between the subject and verb.

Example: Theorem Spark, who was a former student of UI, is usually here.

Explanation: don't get confused with the words (who was a former student of UI) always remember the
basic rule, that singular subject will take singular verb and the plural subject will take plural verb.
Theorem Spark is the subject, Theorem Spark is singular. Singular verb (is) however must be applied.

Rule 3: prepositional phrases between the subject and verb usually do not affect agreement

Example: The tyres of the car are durable.

Explanation: The tyres is the subject and it is plural, because the tyre is more than one. The verb also will
be plural. We won't mind the prepositional phrases (of the car), as stated by the rule.

Rule 4: when sentences start with "there" or "here", the subject will always be placed after the verb, so
care need to be taken to identify it correctly

Example: There is(verb) a problem with the balance sheet (subject).

Here are(verb) the papers(subject) you requested.

Rule 5: subject don't always come before verbs in question, make sure you accurately identify the
subject before deciding on the proper verb form to use.

Example: where are the pieces of this puzzle.

Explanation: the pieces of this puzzle is the subject. And it's plural, so plural verb (are) is to be used.

Rule 6: If two subjects are joined by(and), they typically require a plural verb form

Example: Oluwabukolami and Theorem Spark (are) good friends

The cow and the pig (are) jumping over the moon.

Rule 7: if two subjects separated by ( and ) refer to the same person or thing , the verb will be singular

Example : The President and the Chief of Army Staff ( is ) here to address us.
Rice and beans is Frikkie’s best food.

Rule 8: if one of the words each , every , or , nor , No , somebody , anybody , someone , no one , etc.,
comes before the subject , the verb is singular .

Example: No vulgar language is allowed on this platform.

Rule 9: If the subject are both singular and are connected by the words or , nor , neither / nor , either /
or and only / but also , the verb is singular .

Example: Hibk or Ruthie is to blame for the network problems.

Rule 10: The only time when the object of preposition factors into the decision of plural or singular verb
forms is when noun and pronoun subjects like; some, half, none, more, all etc. are followed by a
prepositional phrase. In these sentences, the object of the preposition determines the form of the verb.

Example: All of the Chicken is gone. All of the chickens are gone.

Half of the bread is here. Half of the breads are here.

Rule 11: The singular verb form is usually used for units of measurement , distances , time , some of
money etc.

Example : four pounds is all I have with me.

Six hours is given by the director to finish the assignment.

Rule 12: If the subjects are both plural and are connected by the words or, nor, neither/nor, either/or
and not only/both also the verb is plural.

Example: Lions or wolves are both available in the Zoo.

Rule 13: If one subject is singular and one plural and the words are connected by the words( or , nor,
either/ or , neither/ nor and not/ but also, you use the verb form of the subject that is nearest the verb.

Example: Either the bears or the lion has escaped from the zoo

Neither the bear or the Lions have escaped the Zoo.


Rule 14: Infinite pronouns typically take singular verbs.

Example: Everybody wants to be loved.

Rule 15: Except for the pronoun (few, many, several, both, all, some) that always take the plural form.

Example: few were left alive after the Tsunami.

Many were found dead on the streets.

Rule 16: If two infinitives are separated by ( and) they take the plural form of verb.

Example: To write and to type words on laptop require great skills.

Rule 17: when gerunds are used as the subject of a sentence, they take the singular verb form of the
verb; but, when they are linked by(and), they take the plural form.

Example: standing in the water was a bad idea.

Swimming in the ocean and playing drums are my hobbies.

Rule 18: Collective nouns like, herd, senate, class, crowd etc. usually take a singular verb form, especially
when they function as a unit. And some collective noun take plural verb when their members are
considered individually.

Example: Senate has passed the bill today.

The jury has taken a decision

They jury were divided in their decision

Rule 19: Tittle of books, movies, novels, etc. are treated as singular and take a singular verb.

Example: The Lion and the Jewel is an interesting book.

Clash of the Titans is an action movie.

Rule 20: If the subject of a sentence is singular and words that follow it are; as well as , with, together
with, in addition to , including etc. The verb that follows will be a singular verb.

In the other hand, If the subject of a sentence is plural and words that follow it are; as well as , with,
together with, in addition to , including etc. The verb that follows will be plural.

Example: Chuko with his crew is here.

The guys with cars are our clients


Rule 21: The word were replaces was in sentences that express a wish or are contrary to fact

Example: If I were Plus Benis, I’d be happy.

Explanation: I know you may want to ask, why (I) which is a singular subject takes a plural verb. You
should remember that the statement expresses wish. And every sentences that expresses a wish or
Contrary to fact, take a plural verb of were instead of was. The sentence demonstrates the subjunctive
mood, which is used to express things that are hypothetical, wishful, imaginary, or factually
contradictory. Thus subjunctive mood pairs singular subjects with what we usually think of as plural
verbs