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Subject-Verb Agreement

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on 2 July 2014

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Transcript of Subject-Verb Agreement

Subject-Verb Agreement
Indefinite Pronouns
Some indefinite pronouns can be considered singular and therefore take singular verbs. These pronouns include:
another, everyone, one, each, either, neither, anything, everything, something, nothing, nobody, somebody
.
Everyone is
urged to apply for this scholarship.
Each
of us
feels
prepared to participate in the discussion.
Somebody uses
this computer each day at noon.

Compound Subjects
When two subjects are joined by and, the resulting compound subject usually requires a plural verb.
The
monitor

and
the
tower are
included in the package deal.
The
decor
and the
music go
nicely together
.
Here are two exceptions to this rule:
First, when the subjects (joined by
and
) form a single thing...
Peanut butter and jelly is
my favorite
.
Second, when
each
or
every
precedes a compound subject joined by and, the subject takes a singular verb.
Either
water
bottles

or
a water
fountain is
always available for the thirsty campers.
Either
a water
fountain
or water
bottles are
always available for the thirsty campers.
What is subject-verb agreement?
Subject-verb agreement is the relation of the subject of a sentence to the verb in terms of its number, such that singular subjects go with singular verbs, and plural subjects go with plural verbs.
The
computer is
black
. (singular)
The
computers are
pink
. (plural)
Present Tense Verbs
When a subject is in third-person singular, present tense verbs end in -s or -es. Third-person singular subjects include singular nouns and third-person singular pronouns (
he, she, it
).
She has
the pictures from our reunion
.
Eric sings
many original songs
.
Some indefinite pronouns can be considered plural and therefore take plural verbs.
These pronouns include: some, all, any, more, most, none, both, few, many, others, and severa
l.
All
of the children
are
attending the class trip.
Both
of us
keep
our work space organized.
Many
species
migrate
over long distances.
For other subjects, such as plural nouns, first-person pronouns (
I, we
), second-person pronouns (
you
), or third-person plural pronouns (
they
), present tense verbs do not end in -s or -es.
Teachers recommend
setting aside plenty of time to study
.
In the morning,
I
always
tell
my sister that we need to hurry
.
Collective Nouns
Sometimes, collective nouns serve as subjects. When a collective noun refers to a group as a unit, it takes a singular verb; when it refers to the individuals or things that make up the group, it takes a plural verb.
The town's successful soccer
team

is
considered to be a great asset to the town's image.
The soccer
team
all
have
their own special talents.


Note that phrases starting with a portion of a unit, such as three-quarters, are treated as collective nouns. Likewise, when the amount represents a portion of a unit, it takes a singular verb.In the case of dollars as single units, use a plural verb form; when it describes an overall amount of money, it takes the singular.
The majority
of the class
is
working diligently.
Three-quarters
of his salary
is
used to pay bills.
Forty dollars is
too much to pay for that game.
Eighty dollars were
placed on the table.
Special Situations
When words come between subjects and verbs, the verb should agree with the subject, not the word in the phrase in between.
The
games
won by this pitcher
are
rare
.

When the phrase in the sentence is introduced by
along with
,
as well as, in addition to, including,
and
together with
, the subject's number does not change.
Heavy
snow along with
freezing temperatures
causes
hazardous driving conditions
.

Sometimes singular subjects have plural forms. When this happens, the singular subject takes a singular verb, regardless of the plural form.
The
news comes
on at ten o'clock.
Mathematics is
Andrea's best subject
.

When subject-verb order is reversed so that the verb comes before the subject, the subject and the verb must agree. Reverse the order to check the agreement.
There are
currently ten
students
in the class.
Reverse: Ten
students are
currently in the class.

Linking verbs should agree with their subject, not with the subject complement.
The
problem was
termites.
Full transcript