Subject Verb Agreement: Rules

Subject-Verb Agreement: Rules & Examples

In any sentence, the subject and the verb are the most important elements, as the link between the subject and verb are dependable on two issues i.e. person and number. In a sentence, the verb must be in an agreement with the subject to person and number.

The number of the subject can have the quality of being plural and singular. If the subject is singular the verb must be singular and if the verb is plural the subject is going to be plural in any case.

Therefore, identifying the number of the subject is mandatory to include a verb in a sentence.

However, the person of the subject can be first, second or third. The verb transforms according to the number and person of the subject.

 

Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement:

Rule 1:

Singular verbs require singular subjects, whereas the plural subjects require plural verbs. Be verbs transform according to the number and person of the subject. Other types of verbs do not transform on the basis of the subject apart from the verbs of the simple present tense. In case if the subjects are a third person singular number, the verb is used with s/es in the simple present tense. The verb with s/es in a sentence are known as singular verbs.

Be verbs as per the number and person of the subject.

Person/Number Singular Plural
First am are
Second are are
Third is are

Example:

Person/Number Singular Plural
First I am an excellent tennis player. We are excellent tennis players.
Second You are a nice person. You all are nice people.
Third Alex plays well under pressure. They are good at chasing.

They play well under pressure.

 

Rule 2:

The prepositional phrases have no impact on the verbs if they are separated from the subjects.

Example:

  • The joy of winning has made them come out on the streets to celebrate.
  • The perspective of individuals vary time to time.

 

Rule 3:

The nouns linked by the conjunction and in the subject function as the plural subject and possess a plural verb.

Example:

  • Christina and Jade are best friends.
  • Smith and Alexa will marry next week.

 

Rule 4:

The verb will not effect on the expressions if the conjunction and is converted into words such as together with/ along with/ accompanied by/ as well as. The words that are mentioned prior to such expressions are the subjects.

Example:

  • The teachers along with the students all went to a picnic.

 

Rule 5:

There is a category of nouns that are always singular and indefinite. When such nouns become convert into subjects they always connect with the singular verbs.

Any + singular noun No + singular noun Some + sin. Noun Every + sin. noun Each + sin. Noun
Anybody nobody Somebody everybody Each student

Either*

Neither*

Anyone No one Someone Everyone
anything Nothing something Everything

 

Example:

  • Everybody loves a long vacation.
  • Anyone can send a text message.

 

Rule 6:

Some nouns are always plural and they are further classified into two parts.

Trousers, eyeglasses, shorts, thongs, jeans, scissors, pants, etc

Example:

  • My shoes are new.
  • I don’t really need eyeglasses.

 

Rule 7:

The word None when used alone is always singular and if it is being used with the prepositional phrase i.e. beginning with of then it can be plural or singular as well.

None + of the + singular noun + singular verb

None+ of the +plural noun +plural verb

Example:

  • None of the children came out to play.

 

Rule 8:

There are certain words such as either….. or, neither….. nor, or, and nor that require two nouns before and after them. The nouns that are linked before and after these conjunctions are entitled as the subjects of the sentence. The nouns written before the words or and nor have no impact on the verbs.

Example:

  • Neither I nor my family will be at home tonight.

 

Rule 9:

Sentences starting with here/there differ in structure and in such cases are mentioned after the verb.

Here/there + verb + subject……

Example:

  • Here they used to play table tennis.
  • There is my new car.

 

Rule 10:

Collective nouns are often regarded as singular subjects as well

Example:

  • The class consists of intelligent students.

 

A flock of birds/sheep, pack of dogs/wolves, a herd of cattle, school of fish, and pride of lions

Example:

  • A pack of wolves was seen approaching their way.

 

Rule 11:

A number of + noun is a plural subject and it requires a plural verb. The number of + noun is a singular subject and requires a singular verb

Example:

  • A number of people took part in the blood donation.

 

Rule 12:

The verb will continue to remain singular if it is a gerund or an infinitive.

Example:

  • Jogging is good for health.
  • Eating too much chocolate isn’t good.

 

Rule 13:

If THE is used with an as a subject of a sentence then it will remain plural.

Example:

  • The successful people are always hardworking.

 

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