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SUBJECT- VERB AGREEMENT

In the back room the boys are playing, a study in brotherly love. The younger one has the fire engine and the older one has the tow truck and although entire minutes have passed, neither has made a grab for the others toy. The younger one is babbling to himself in pidgin English and the older one is singing ceaselessly, tonelessly, as

though chanting a mantra. It is not until I move closer to the two of


them, toe to toe on the tile floor, that I catch the lyrics to the melody: Get out of here. Get out of here. Get out of here.... My son loves his brother, who is immensely lovable; at the same time he dislikes his brother intensely. He wants him to be around, but only sometimes, and only in his terms. He is no different from a lot of us who have fantasies about the things we want and who are surprised by the realities when we get them.

In the back room the boys are playing, a study in brotherly love. The younger one has the fire engine and the older one has the tow

truck and although entire minutes have passed, neither has made a
grab for the others toy. The younger one is babbling to himself in pidgin English and the older one is singing ceaselessly, tonelessly, as though chanting a mantra. It is not until I move closer to the two of them, toe to toe on the tile floor, that I catch the lyrics to the melody: (=you) Get out of here. (=you) Get out of here. (=you) Get out of here....

My son loves his brother, who is immensely lovable; at the same


time he dislikes his brother intensely. He wants him to be around, but only sometimes, and only in his terms. He is no different from a lot of us who have fantasies about the things we want and who are surprised by the realities when we get them.

I, YOU, WE, THEY The boys Entire minutes I, I (you) (you) (you) Who (<us) We Who (<us) We

HE, SHE, IT The younger one The older one Neither The younger one The older one It My son Who (<his brother) He, he, he

The s Suffix
Noun + -s = plural ( one student, two students ) Verb + -s = singular (third person singular : he / she buys)
Subject
I, you, we, they

Present tense verb


Simple Form

Example
Students (=they) buy a lot of books. A student (=he/she) buys a lot of books

He, she, it

-s

Verbs in a sequence

-s suffix
all the 3rd person present tense verbs in a sequence He picks up the toy, throws it across the room, and screams.

TRICKY SINGULAR AND PLURAL SUBJECTS

PLURAL IN FORM , SINGULAR IN MEANING The news was bad yesterday. The United States has a large budget deficit. Economics is an important field of study for politicians. The lecture series sounds interesting.

SINGULAR IN FORM, PLURAL IN MEANING The people in the park look happy. The police have captured the criminal. Two subjects plural form

My brother and my sister (=they)want to stay home.

Agreement with Quantifiers and Pronouns

Subject Every Each Each of Everyone/everybody Someone/somebody

Verb S S S S S S

Verb P

Example Every child likes toys. Each child has a teddy bear. Each of the toys needs to be repaired. Everyone wants to travel. Somebody wants to see you.

No one/nobody One Either (of)

S S S

No one has any time. One of the boys wants to leave. Either girl is suitable. Either of the girls works well.

Neither boy wants to leave.

Neither (of)
Both (of) P

Neither of the boys wants to leave.


Both boys want to leave

Both of the boys want to leave.


All (of) S P All American boys play baseball.

All of the furniture looks old.

A lot of /
lots of Some (of) No

A lot of girls play soccer.


A lot of the furniture looks uncomfortable.

Some parents are strict. Some of the furniture looks shabby. No children dislike ice cream. No child dislikes ice cream. (fml) No furniture costs that much!

None of

None of the boys is playing. None of the furniture is old.

-ing form Infinitive Clause

S S S

Choosing furniture is difficult. To furnish a room takes time. Why we never use the room is a mystery.

Long Subjects
The boy with the truck is having fun. That novel about alien invasion in several southwestern states has recently been made into a TV movie. Identify the head of the subject to determine whether the whole subject can be replaced by a he, she, it subject or not. Complete subject the boy with the trucks

Head of the subject

boy

Another poll of Americans reading and attitudes was taken in 1990. The library, along with / as well as / together with bookstores, provides reading materials.

The child, not her parents, was an avid reader.


A child who likes to read books and whose parents encourage reading does better in school.

Collective nouns
jury family team council group army crew club crowd class government audience company committee press groups of people or animals considered as a whole considered as individual members

SINGULAR verb PLURAL verb

The jury is ready to give the verdict. The class is going on a field trip.

The jury are all staying at the Park Hotel. The class have disagreed among themselves about where they should go on their field trip.

The team has been practising all week.

The soccer team have differing opinions about strategies for the next game.

Fractions and Porcentages


We use a singular verb if the noun is a singular noun, a noun clause or a noncount noun. Fifty percent of the book is about poetry. Half of what he says is not true. All (of) our information is up-to-date. We use a plural verb with plural nouns. One-fourth of the students have computers. All (of) the computers need to be checked.

A Number of / The Number of


a number of plural agreement A number of students are absent today. the number of... singular agreement The number of students taking the exam is 175.

Proximity and Ellipsis


Either the boss or my colleagues deserve the blame.

Neither my boss nor my colleagues deserve the blame.


Either my colleagues or my boss deserves the blame.

Neither my colleagues nor my boss deserves the blame.


Western ferrets are cuter, but the eastern make better

pets.
Her parents are Chinese, but mine are Korean. Her father is Chinese, but mine is Korean.

Existential There
The head noun of the notional subject determines the form of the verb There are no closets near the living room. There is no furniture in the room. There is some rivalry between the brothers. There are some toys on the couch.

One of
Singular Agreement
One of the boys is playing with a truck. One of the parents works at home.

We use SINGULAR verb forms with:


nouns which refer to school subjects: economics, physics, mathematics (maths), politics, etc. I think physics is a very interesting subject. nouns which refer to sports: gymnastics, athletics, bowls, etc. nouns which refer to games: billiards, dominoes, darts, draughts, etc. nouns which refer to illness: measles, arthritis,

mumps, etc. Measles is no fun to have! the word news. The news isnt very encouraging, Im afraid.

plural nouns when we talk about an amount of money, a

time period, weight, distance, etc. Five hundred thousand pounds was donated to build a new hospital wing. Two weeks goes fast when you are on holiday. Six hundred miles is too far to drive in one day.
Place names

Leeds is where my aunt was born.


Book and film titles

Dance with Wolves was awarded an Oscar for the best movie.
Arithmetical operations (addition, substraction,

multiplication, division) Three plus seven equals ten. Four times five equals twenty.

nouns such as: clothes, people, police, stairs, (good) looks, surroundings, outskirts, premises, earnings, wages, cattle, poultry, etc.

We use PLURAL verb forms with:

Designer clothes are rather expensive.


nouns which refer to objects that consist of two parts, such as: trousers, binoculars, shorts, shoes, gloves, pyjamas, tights, glasses, earnings, socks, scissors, etc. We do not use a / an or a number with these words. We use the phrase pair of instead. Where are your gloves? That pair of gloves is very colourful.

two nouns connected by both...and.

Both F. Scott Fitzgerald and Charles Dickens were named as favourite authors in the 1990 reading poll.
Nominalized adjectives

The young want to grow up fast and the old wish to be younger. Is it true that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer?

EXCEPTIONS TO TRADITIONAL AGREEMENT RULES

spoken and informal English

Either / Neither of + Noun Phrase FORMAL RULE: The verb has singular agreement. Either of the outfits is appropriate. Neither of the choices is desirable. BUT Either of the outfits are appropriate. Neither of the choices are desirable.

Either or / Neither nor FORMAL RULE: The verb agrees with the closest subject noun. Either my parents or John has the car. Neither you nor I am convinced. BUT Either my parents or John have the car. Neither you nor I are convinced.

None of + Noun Phrase FORMAL RULE: The verb has singular agreement. None of the students is here.

BUT None of the students are here.

There + be + plural noun

FORMAL RULE: If the noun following the verb is plural, the verb takes plural agreement. There are three books you might like.
BUT Theres three books you might like. Theres a lot of unanswered questions about that issue.