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Don't Be Confused by Words that Come after the Subject

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Joseph Vincent

on 2 March 2016

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Transcript of Don't Be Confused by Words that Come after the Subject

Don't Be Confused by Words that Come after the Subject
The student, accompanied by his parents, visits the art museum.
The subject, in this case, is
the student
. The verb is singular (
) because the subject is singular (
the student
). Don’t be fooled by the prepositional phrase accompanied by his parents—it has no effect on the number of the verb.
The student and his parents visit the art museum.
In this case, there is a compound subject—a plural subject:
The student and his parents
. Therefore, the verb is plural, as well (
The tree and its many branches sway in the wind.
This is a plural subject—
many branches
are both part of the subject. For this reason, the verb should be plural:
A shiver of sharks swims in the ocean.
The noun
is not often used, but it is a real English word. The noun
is used to designate a group of sharks.
In the example above, the verb
refers back to
, not to

The tree with its many branches sways in the wind.
The subject of the sentence is
, which is singular.
With its many branches
is a prepositional phrase. The verb must also be singular (
The flamingos fly over the river.
In this example, the subject (
the flamingos
) is plural, as is the verb (
A flock of flamingos flies over the river.
The subject is
, even though the object of the preposition (
) is plural (
is singular. For this reason, the singular form of the verb
to fly
is needed:
The sharks swim in the ocean.

This is a more straightforward example.

The plural verb
refers back to
, which is a plural noun.
Full transcript