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Many words indicating a number of people or animals are

singular. The following nouns are usually singular. In some
The following nouns are always considered plural. They cannot
cases they are plural if the sentence indicates that the be singular. In order to speak of them as singular, one must say
individual members are acting separately. “a pair of…”

congress family group committee class scissors shorts pants jeans tongs
organization team army club crowd trousers eyeglasses pliers tweezers
government jury majority* minority public
 The pliers were on the table.
*Majority can be singular or plural. If it is alone, it is usually  The pair of pliers was on the table.
singular: if it is followed by a plural noun, it is usually plural.  These scissors are dull.
 The majority believes that we are in no danger.  The pair of scissors is dull.
 The majority of the students believe him to be innocent.
Examples of collective nouns: A subject compounded by phrases such as along with, together
 The committee has met, and it has rejected the proposal. with, and as well as affects the verb.
 The crowd was wild with excitement.  Jane, along with her sister, is going to do the dishes.
 Our team is going to win the game.  Jane, together with her classmates, needs to prepare a
The following nouns are used to indicate groups of certain
animals. It is not necessary to learn all the nouns; however, EXERCISE: SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT
they mean the same as group and thus are considered Complete the text with the appropriate form of the verb in
singular. brackets so that Subject-Verb agreement is correct. Bear
in mind that different tenses and voices (like passive
a flock of birds a school of fish a herd of cattle voice) are needed, and that some of the verbs can be in
a pack of dogs a pride of lions negative form.

 The flock of birds is circling overhead. 1. Neither Bill nor Mary _______is going______________ (go)
 The herd of cattle is breaking away. to the theatre tonight.
 A school of fish is being attacked by sharks. 2. Skating _______has become______________ (become) very
popular in the past five years.
TIME, MONEY, AND MEASUREMENTS 3. A number of reporters ________were_____________ (be) at
the conference yesterday evening.
Collective nouns indicating time, money, and
measurements used as a whole are singular.
4. John, as well as his parents, _____usually
goes_______________ (go/usually) to the park on Sundays.
 Twenty-five dollars is too much to pay for that shirt. 5. The number of mobile phones that _______are
 Fifty minutes isn’t enough time to finish the test. stolen______________ (steal) in the city every day______has
 Five dollars is all I have in my wallet. increased_______________ (increase) in the last 2 months.
 Two miles is too much to run in one day. 6. At the moment, the pack of lions _____is being
observed________________ (observe) by a number of
A NUMBER OF / THE NUMBER OF naturalists who _______are______________ (be) interested in
their social habits.
A number of + plural noun + plural verb … 7. Either John or his wife _____makes________________
(a number of = many) (make) breakfast every morning.
The number of + plural noun + singular verb … 8. The number of students who _____are
 A number of students are going to the class picnic. withdrawing________________ (withdraw) from class this
 The number of days in a week is seven. semester ________is_____________ (be) appalling.
9. In last year’s elections, 60% of the voters
 A number of the applicants have already been interviewed.
_______were______________ (be) between 40 and 60 years
 The number of residents who have been questioned on this
matter is quite small.
10. Ten years ______were not_______________ (be) enough
NEITHER… NOR / EITHER … OR to get to know my husband really well.
11. I took the 10 dollars that ______were_______________
When subjects are connected by or, the subject closer to the (be) on the table to buy some groceries. Unfortunately, I
verb determines the number of the verb.  couldn’t buy many things. Ten dollars ________is
 Neither my cousins nor my uncle is interested in the idea. not_____________ (be) much money nowadays.
 Either Tom or his friends have to attend some math 12. Either my shoes or your jacket _______is______________
tutorials. (be) always on the floor.