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Subject-Verb Agreement refers to the

relationship between the verb and its


subject.
Every clause or sentence must agree in
number and person with its subject.
Verb must be singular if its subject is
singular; verb must be plural if its
subject is plural.
Examples:
Singular Subject and Singular Verb
Overcrowding causes many of the discipline
problems in our school.
Plural Subject and Plural Verb
Fires destroy millions of dollars worth of
property each year.
To choose the correct verb form,
identify the subject of the sentence.
Subject
The first three weeks of basic training
are
is the worst.
[The plural subject weeks takes a plural
verb.]
Another group of words that can cause
confusion is the subordinate clause.
Subject
The use of mood altering drugs, although they
is
sometimes provide great medical benefits, are
generally criticized by the public.

[The singular subject use takes a singular verb.]


A problem can also arise from the use of
along with, as well as, in addition to, and
together with.
Subject
The cost of medication as well as doctors fees
is
are a problem for retired Canadians wintering

in Florida.
[The singular subject cost takes a singular verb.]
Block all prepositional phrases,
subordinate clauses, and miscellaneous
expressions, you will get the subject
and the verb by process of elimination.

Unless it rains, I plan on leaving as late


as possible, along with all the other
vacationers.
Look for inverted word order, in
which the subject follows the verb.
have
From his research has come three
Subject
promising cancer drugs.
Use a plural verb with the most
compound subjects joined by and.
Subject Subject were
Their television and their camera was
stolen.
However, when singular subjects are
joined by and are preceded by each,
every, no, nothing or many a(n), use
a singular verb.
S S is
Every chair and every couch are on

sale this weekend.


S S is
No bicycling and no hitchhiking are

permitted on Highway 20.


If the two parts of a compound
subject, whether singular or plural,
express a single idea or refer to a
single person, use singular verb.
S is
Ham and eggs are my favorite
breakfast.
If subjects joined by either/or or
neither/nor differ in number and
person, make the verb agree with
the subject close to it.

Neither the instructor nor the


are
students is satisfied with the room.
When a collective noun used as a
subject regards a group as a unit,
use singular verb. When it refers to
the individual members of a group,
use plural verb.
The committee as a whole
The committee gives its report today.

Each member of the committee


The committee give their reports
today.
When a relative pronoun (who,
which, or that), is the subject,
make the verb agree with the
pronouns antecedent.
A politician who votes pro-labor gets
elected.

Politicians who vote pro-labor get


elected.
She is one of the politicians who

always vote pro-labor.

She is the only one of the politicians

who always votes pro-labor.


When an indefinite pronoun is the
subject, choose a singular or plural
verb, depending on the number of
the indefinite pronoun.
Use a singular verb with a singular
indefinite pronoun. (another,
anybody, anyone, anything, each,
either, everybody, everyone,
everything, neither, no one, nothing,
one, somebody, someone,
something).
Somebody has to decide whether to
paint the kitchen this year.

[One person (one body) will make the


decision.]
Use a plural verb with a plural
indefinite pronoun (both, few, many,
several).

I spent the afternoon shopping for a


camera, but few were reasonably
priced.
With indefinite pronouns that can
be singular or plural, (all, any, none,
some), use a singular or plural verb,
depending on the word the
indefinite pronoun refers to.
All of the wheat is harvested.

All of the fields are ploughed.

[Wheat is singular, fields is plural.]


When the sentence begins with
here or there, make the verb agree
in number with the subject.
are
There is stone, brick and tile

fireplaces in Blenheim Castle.


Make linking verbs agree in
number with their subjects not
their complements.
A subject complement renames or
describes the subject and is, therefore
sometimes confused with it.
S is complement
His main interest are stamps.
When the subject noun is in the
form of a plural but is singular in
meaning, use a singular verb.
was
Measles were a serious childhood
disease until a vaccine was developed.
When a word used as a word is the
subject, use singular verb.
The number (singular or plural) of the word
used as a word is unimportant; the sentence
is about a single thing so use a singular verb.
is
Flurries are one of the terms used to describe
a light fall of snow.
When the subject of a sentence is a
noun clause, use a singular verb.
Noun clause
That he actually bought a new jeep
surprises me.
Noun clauses that begin with what
are the exception. If the subject of
the sentence is plural, the verb is a
linking verb, use a plural verb with a
what clause.
What worries him more than anything
are Subject
else is his low grades in his major.