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Subject-Verb Agreement

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Caroline Richardson

on 18 February 2013

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Transcript of Subject-Verb Agreement

Singular or Plural Indefinite Pronouns:

All of the people are gone.
All of my money is gone.
Most of the moon is covered in darkness.
Most of his coins are pennies.

A Final Word of Caution! When using the phrases “one of those” or “one of these,” look to the noun preceding the verb in the clause for agreement.

Studying before a test is one of those simple measures that reap big rewards. SUBJECT/VERB AGREEMENT RULES CONT… The Case of the Indefinite Pronoun
Most indefinite pronouns [another, anybody everybody, no one, somebody, something, etc…] are singular and require singular verbs, even though the sentence may sound odd. However, a few indefinite pronouns [none, some, more, most, any, all] may be singular OR plural. In this case, look to the noun closest to the predicate for agreement.

Singular Indefinite Pronouns:

Anyone going to the mall gets the gift for Bob.
One of our best runners is running in the Olympics.
Neither of the two was wrong. SUBJECT/VERB AGREEMENT RULES CONT… Ignore the nouns in prepositional phrases or clauses that modify the subject, and use only the subject to determine your verb.

The car that parked in her parking space was towed.
Dogs from the pound carry illnesses.
Do birds from South America migrate?

Again, ask yourself who or what is doing the action, or who or what is the predicate (main verb) referring to, in order to find the subject. SUBJECT/VERB AGREEMENT RULES CONT… The predicate is the main verb or verb phrase in a sentence.
Verbs can be actions (run, fight, dream), linking (to be, to seem, appear, feel, taste, look, & become) or states of being (is, am, are, were, was, etc…).
Some verb phrases include an action or description of the subject.

Examples of Action Verbs:
Joseph laughs like a hyena.
The cat on the roof ran into the neighbor’s yard.

Examples of Other Verbs:
Joseph is laughing at his little sister.
The cat on the roof did run into the neighbor’s yard.
Lydia and John became a couple after our wedding.
Do you know the reason for all the commotion? WHAT IS A VERB OR PREDICATE? A sentence is made up of two parts: the subject
(or the main noun) and the predicate (or the main verb).

Dogs  bark.
subject predicate

The tiny girl  runs home every day.
subject predicate WHAT IS A SENTENCE? Can you spot the grammatical error?
The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL): http://owl.english.purdue.edu/exercises/2/

E-Mints National Center: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/cgi-shl/quiz.pl/sv_agr_quiz.htm OTHER ONLINE RESOURCES:
TEST YOUR GRAMMAR SKILLS The Case of the Collective Noun
Collective nouns name a group: team, choir, band, orchestra, jury, committee, etc… Some collective nouns may be either singular or plural, depending on how you regard them. Both versions are acceptable.
The Smith family expects that its restaurant will benefit from a recent increase in Arizona tourism.
The Smith family expect that their restaurant will benefit from a recent increase in Arizona tourism.
The jury expects its verdict to be controversial.
The jury agree not to discuss their verdict with the press. SUBJECT/VERB AGREEMENT RULES CONT… When the compound subject is joined with or, nor, neither/nor, either/or or not only/but also, the predicate (main verb) should agree with the subject closest to it.

Neither John nor Sylvia makes good margaritas.
Two horses or a car has the strength to pull that.
Not only those dogs but also this cat was bitten. SUBJECT/VERB AGREEMENT RULES CONT… When you have a compound subject joined by the conjunction and, use the plural form of the verb.

Joseph and Lynn were in the mall.
Local colleges and universities raise money annually.
Three dogs and a cat walk into a bar…
Do Sarah and my brother have a license? SUBJECT/VERB AGREEMENT RULES CONT… When you have a singular subject, use the singular form of the verb.
Juliet is a nice girl.
There was a large cat in the room. [A large cat was there…]
The car stalls at each stop.

When you have a plural subject, use the plural form of the verb.
They are at the mall.
His brothers were running around the block.
There were many pictures taken at the zoo. SUBJECT/VERB AGREEMENT RULES The subject is who or what the sentence is about.

I walked into the room.
Joe and Sylvia would like a pizza.
The book on the table is blue.
Does anybody have a quarter I can borrow?

If you’re not sure what the subject of a sentence is, ask yourself: who or what is doing the action, OR to whom or what is the verb phrase referring? WHAT IS A SUBJECT? How about here? (*But were afraid to ask… or you really just didn’t care)
Texas State University Writing Center

University of Arkansas: http://www.uark.edu/depts/aeedhp/jdmhome/game/start.htm

Quia-Grand Grammar Game: http://www.quia.com/cb/125663.html ONLINE GRAMMAR JEOPARDY:
LET’S PLAY! Subject-Verb Agreement
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