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ENGLISH FORM 2 SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT _______________________________________________________________________________________ Rules: 1.

The basic rule states that a singular subject takes a singular verb while a plural subject takes a plural verb. Example: He talks. They sing. 2. Two singular subjects connected by or nor eitheror neithernor require a singular verb. Example: My aunt or my uncle is arriving by train today. Neither Simon nor David is available. Either Simon or David is helping today with stage decorations. 3. When I is one of the two subjects connected by or nor eitheror neithernor put it last and follow it with the singular verb am. Example: Neither she nor I am going to school. 4. When a singular subject is connected by or nor eitheror neithernor to a plural subject, put the plural subject last and use a plural verb. Example: The bowl or the plates are on that shelf. 5. Use a plural verb with two or more subjects when they are connected by and both. Example: A car and a bike are my means of transportation. Both John and his sisters are going to be at the party. 6. Ignore the words such as ,along with, ,as well as, ,besides, ,including, ,in addition to, ,together with, ,accompanied by, Example: Excitement, as well as nervousness, is the cause of her shaking. The politicians, along with the newsmen, are expected shortly. 7. The pronouns each everyone every one everybody anyone anybody someone somebody are singular and require singular verbs. Examples: 1

Each of the girls sings well. Every one of the cakes is gone. 8. With words that indicate portions percent fraction part majority some all remainder few many much some look at the noun to determine whether to use a singular or plural verb. If singular, use a singular verb. If plural, use a plural verb. Examples: One-third of the city is unemployed. One-third of the people are unemployed. Some of the pie is missing. Some of the pies are missing. All the information is current. All the studies are current. 9. A singular verb follows none, even if the noun following it is plural. However, in conversational English, a plural noun has become acceptable. Example: None of the workers receives a tip. None of the workers receive a tip (less formal). 10. When either and neither are subjects, they always take singular verbs. Examples: Neither of them is available to speak right now. Either of us is capable of doing the job. 11. The expression the number is followed by a singular verb 2

while the expression a number is followed by a plural verb. Examples: The number of people we need to hire is thirteen. A number of people have written in about this subject. 12. Use a singular verb with sums of money periods of time distances. Examples: Ten dollars is a high price to pay. Five years is the maximum sentence for that offense. Five miles is an average distance for me to run. 13. The pronouns who that which become singular or plural according to the noun directly in front of them. Examples: Salma is the scientist who writes the reports. He is one of the men who do the work. 14. Some nouns that are singular in form name a group of people or things: class family team group flock Examples: The jury was dismissed by the judge. The class has decided to have a science table in the room. The family is coming for dinner.

Exercise: Underline the correct verb in the following sentences. 1. An electric computer ( solves, solve ) difficult problems quickly. 2. Forest rangers ( says, say ) that we can prevent forest fires. 3. Either Julia or her friends ( is, are ) planning to attend. 4. One of the students ( is, are ) studying algebra. 5. The exhibit of the artists paintings ( was, were ) very interesting. 6. All of the salesmen, including Mr. Stone, ( was, were ) at the meeting. 7. The president with his wife and the vice president ( has, have ) just left for the summit. 8. Neither the students nor the instructor ( want, wants ) to miss class. 9. Every one of the girls ( do, does ) her homework. 10. Both of the carpenters ( is, are ) planning to do the job. 11. Most of the nurses ( work, works ) every day. 12. Running a few miles each day ( is, are ) a good form of exercise. 13. The women, as well as the men ( sing, sings ) beautifully. 14. Over one hundred thousand forest fires ( is, are ) reported each year. 15. Careless people ( is, are ) often at fault. 16. Five hours ( is, are ) needed to fly across the Atlantic. 17. Either the clock on the town hall or my watch ( is, are ) wrong. 18. ( Do, Does ) everyone in the band play well? 19. Ethics ( is, are ) a code of values. 20. That school ( don't, doesn't ) have a stage. 21. Mathematics ( seem, seems ) easy this year. 22. Being open-minded ( encourage, encourages ) learning. 23. Mr. Michaels, with his two sons, always ( win, wins ) the trophy. 24. The boxer and the poodle ( don't, doesn't ) get along. 25. Every semester, studying for final exams ( cause, causes ) stress. 26. No one except Mary and Lettie ( was, were ) excited. 27. Politics ( appeal, appeals ) to some people. 28. Anyone leaving without permission ( is, are ) going to be in trouble. 29. Aerobics ( is, are ) a fun activity for most youngsters. 30. "The Seven Sisters" ( is, are ) a story about a New England family. 31. New words and new meanings for old words ( is, are ) included. 32. The girls from John Carroll ( is, are ) arriving early for class. 33. Fifty cents ( is, are ) more than enough for your allowance. 3

34. Everyone ( draw, draws ) better than I. 35. Next week the Smith family ( leave, leaves ) for vacation. 36. Many of our group ( has, have ) had flu shots. 37. Another boy or girl ( takes, take ) the part of the narrator. 38. The bag of golf balls ( is, are ) for practice. 39. Why ( hasnt, havent ) someone given us the signal? 40. ( Has, Have ) either of you seen an ice hockey game? 41. Everybody ( look, looks ) ready for the party. 42. Each of the apples ( was, were ) ripe. 43. Of the new cases, few ( is, are ) serious. 44. Neither of those paths ( leads, lead ) home. 45. Both girls ( has, have ) different assignments. 46. Someone from each class ( attend, attends ) the meeting. 47. Neither sheets nor towels ( is, are ) furnished at camp. 48. The boxes of chalk ( is, are ) at the chalkboard. 49. Several in the group ( doubts, doubt ) the existence of intelligent life on other planets. 50. One of these dogs ( has, have ) fleas. 51. Of all my friends, only one ( has, have ) written to me. 52. A little practice in the evenings ( help, helps ) us play better. 53. The panel ( choose, chooses ) the topics for television. 54. ( Is, Are ) the group in charge of refreshments here yet? 55. A package from my daughters ( was, were ) left on the doorstep. 56. In July the committee ( make, makes ) a decision about the location of the August picnic. 57. The heart, along with the 100,000 miles of arteries and veins, ( supplies, supply ) the oxygen needed by all parts of the body. 58. Your fingernail and a piece of glass ( is, are ) two means for testing hardness in minerals. 59. ( Has, Have ) the books or other supplies come? 60. Each ( seek, seeks ) a job to do.