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Subject Verb Agreement Name:Date:To understand the rules of subject- verb agreement one has to understand what a person

and number are. 1. As you all know a pronoun is a word used instead of a noun. We will be dealing with personal pronouns, namely, I, we, you, he (she, it) they. These words stand for three persons: i. the person speaking ii. the person spoken to iii. the person spoken of The pronouns I and we which denote the person or persons speaking, are said to be Personal Pronouns of the First Person.

The Pronoun You , which denotes the person or persons spoken to, is said to be a Personal Pronoun of the Second Person. You is used both in the singular and plural. The Pronoun he (she) and they , which denote the person or persons spoken of, are said to be Personal Pronouns of the Third Person. It although it denotes the thing spoken of, is also called a Personal Pronoun of the Third Person.

First Person:Singular Plural

I we my, mine me Second Person:Singular you your/yours you Third Person Plural our, ours us

Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural (all Nominative he she it Genders) case they Possessive his her, hers its

case Objective him case her it their, theirs


The three persons play a significant role in deciding the agreement between the subject and verb. 2. Number

There are two numbers in English the singular and the plural. A noun that denotes one person or thing, is said to be in the Singular Number, eg. tree, book, pen

A noun that denotes more than one person or thing, is said to be in the Plural Number, e.g. Trees, Books, Pens. Agreement of the Verb with the Subject A verb must agree with its subject in number and personThere are a number of rules that have to be followed here. I. When the subject is in the third person and singular number, the verb in the present tense takes s or es. Ex:- Jenny goes to office at ten in the morning. Kiran teaches English at college. II. If the subject is in the third person plural number, the base form of the verb is used.

Ex:- They go to Delhi. We speak English. III. But when the subject is in the first person singular and plural, second person singular and plural, third person plural number, the base form of the verb is used. Ex:- I go to temple We go to temple You go to temple They go to temple Note:- This rule is applied only to present tense but in past tense either S or es is not added. The verb remains unchanged inspite of the differences in person and the number in the past tense.

Ex:- I drank milk. We drank milk. You drank milk. They drank milk. He drank milk. She drank milk. It rained. IV. In respect of helping verbs, the third person singular verb is is and the third person plural is are. She is clever She is clever They are Indians Note:-

In respect of past tense, the third person singular verb is was and the third person plural verb is were Ex:- He was in the room. She was in the room. They were in the room. V. The verb must agree in number and person with its real subject. Ex:- One of my sisters has gone to America. Each of my brothers was educated. Everyone of the students has applied for scholarship. VI. Two or more singular nouns connected by and must be used with a plural verb. Ex:- Smoking and drinking are injurious to health. Jane and Mary are sisters.

He and I were in Delhi last year.

VII. Two or more singular nouns connected by and expressing one idea must be followed by a singular verb. Ex:- Knowledge and wisdom makes a man great. Slow and steady wins the race. Bread and butter is his favourite food. VIII. Two nouns connected by and referring to the same person must be used with a singular verb. Ex:- My uncle and guardian wants me to apply for civil service. The author and editor has invited me to dinner

The teacher and principal of the college is my father s classmate. Note:If the two nouns refer to two different persons, the articles and possessive pronouns must be used before each noun and the verb must be plural. Ex:- My uncle and my guardian want me to apply for Civil Service. The author and the editor have invited me to dinner. IX. Two singular nouns connected by and which are preceded by each or every must be used with a singular verb.

Ex:- Each boy and girl has got admission into the college.

Every man and woman has to contribute to our society and country. X. Two singular subjects connected by or , either --- or , neither nor must be used with a singular verb. Ex:- Neither Tom nor Jack has agreed to accept the post. --- No salary or bonus was given to the workers in the factory. --- Either my sister or my brother has failed in the interview. Note:But when one of the subjects is plural, the plural subject should be placed last and it should be followed by a plural verb. Ex:- Neither my friend nor his sisters are interested in watching TV.

Either Uma or her sisters are kind and considerate to me. Neither the Chief Minister nor his colleagues have understood the seriousness of the problem.

XI. When two singular subjects connected by or , nor differ in person, the verb should agree in person with the subject nearest to it. Ex:- Neither Raj nor I have visited the Taj Mahal. Neither you nor Harish seems to be able to speak in English correctly. Either you or Janet has to attend the meeting.

XII. A collective noun must be used with a singular verb when the group is thought of as a single unit, but when the individuals are considered separately, it must be used with a plural verb. Ex:- The ship s crew has tried to save the passengers from drowning when the ship was sinking. When the ship arrived at the port, the crew were welcomed by the Navy. XIII. Nouns which are plural in form but singular in meaning must be used with a singular verb. Ex:- The news is broadcast on All India Radio. The wages of sin is death. Politics is a social science.

Gulliver s Travels is an interesting book.

EXERCISES (subject verb agreement) Name:Test Date:Correct the following sentences A.

1. Indians believes in non-violence. 2. The children is playing in the ground. 3. Mary go to office at 8 in the morning. 4. Murthy do not like watching T.V. 5. You does not know anything about computers 6. I does not know anything about computers 7. The earth move around the sun. 8. Her feet is very long and smooth. 9. Your teeth is white and shining.

10. They has no friends in Delhi.

B. Fill in the blanks with the correct verb forms in the following sentences. 1. My teeth ___________________ dirty. (are, is) 2. Where __________________ my spectacles? (are, is) 3. Whose cattle ______________ these? (is, are) 4. The sheep _______________ grazing in the field. (is, are) 5. My parents _______________ educated (was, were) 6. The crowd ________________ large. (is, are) 7. The army _______________ marching in the streets (was, were)

8. I ________________ a brother and three sisters. (has, have) 9. We _______________ lived here for three years. (has, have) 10. You ________________ posted the letter (has, have) C. Correct the following sentences: 1. Padma and Ramya is good friends. 2. There is a lot of books in the library. 3. My sisters is going to Delhi tomorrow. 4.He and his daughter was here yesterday. 5. The director and producer are talking to the pressmen.

6. The author and editor were arrested. 7. My friend and well-wisher have advised me to work harder for promotion. 8. The PM and party leader are participating in the meeting. 9. Bread and butter are my breakfast. 10. The sum and substance of the matter are that he is innocent.

Exercises Change all the verbs in italics to the past tense. 1. Three little kittens are playing with a ball of wool. The wool rolls under the table. They chase it and catch it. One kitten pulls it one way, the second tries to pull it the other way, and the third sits and watches. Mrs. Brown walks into the room. She takes her knitting needle in her hand and raps the naughty kittens on their paws. The kittens leave the wool and run off to their mother. ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ______________________________ 2. Write a paragraph on all the things you did yesterday. ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ______________________________ 3. While changing verb tenses keep in mind that cannot changes to could not.

Present Tense Past Tense cannot do could not do cannot walk could not walk

Remember that the verb which comes after the word to always remains in the present tense. Sheila wants to play. Sheila wanted to play. The verb wants changes to the past tense wanted, but to play remains as it is.

4. Read the paragraph below and underline all the verbs and then change the verbs into their past tense: Maya goes to the kitchen. She wants to bake a cake. She begins to look for the things she needs. Maya finds the flour, the eggs, the butter, and the sugar, but she cannot find the baking powder. She knows that she cannot

bake a cake without baking powder. She opens one cupboard, but it is not there. She peers into another cupboard, but it is not there either. Suddenly, she spies it in the corner of the highest shelf in the cupboard. She pulls up a stool and climbs on it. She reaches the corner of the shelf and takes and takes down the baking powder. Now, she is ready to bake the cake. ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ______________________________ 5. Keep in mind that the verb will changes to would in its past tense form. will walk will dance dance will play will be would walk would would play would be

6. Underline all the verbs in the paragraph. Now change the verbs into their past tense form.

Raman is going to Japan. He checks his tickets, he locks his suitcase and travels to the airport in a taxi. When Raman is ready to enter the aeroplane he waves goodbye to his friends. He gets into the aeroplane and straps on his seat belt. The air hostess closes the doors of the aeroplane. At first, the aeroplane moves down the runway, slowly, and then it picks up speed. It makes a loud noise and soon it leaves the ground and climbs higher and higher. Raman cannot see the airport any more. He feels that he is sitting on the big fluffy clouds around him. He is happy that soon he will be in Japan. He will meet his Japanese friend and will visit many places there. After his visit, he will return to India. ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ______________________________