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Subject-Verb Agreement

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by

Anna Heinz

on 29 October 2013

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Transcript of Subject-Verb Agreement

Subject-Verb Agreement


Singular subjects need singular verbs and plural subjects need plural verbs.
4. The pronouns "neither" and "either" are singular and require singular verbs even though they seem to be referring to two things.

Incorrect usage: Neither of my cats
are
evil.
Correct usage: Neither of my cats
is
evil. But my grandmother's cat is!
9. Words such as "glasses," "pants," "pliers," and "scissors" are regarded as plural unless they're preceded by the phrase "pair of" (in which case the word "pair" becomes the subject).

Incorrect usage: My pants
was
ripped when I tripped.
Correct usage: My pants
were
ripped when I tripped.
1. The indefinite pronouns "anyone", "everyone," "someone", "no one", and "nobody" are always singular and require singular verbs.
Incorrect usage: Someone
have
devoured my Klondike bar!
Correct usage: Someone
has

devoured my Klondike bar! Raise the hue and cry!
Incorrect usage: Everyone forgot to bring
their
stuffed spiders to music camp.
Correct usage: Everyone forgot to bring
his or her
stuffed spiders to music camp.
5. The conjunction "or" does not conjoin (as "and" does): when "nor" or "or" is used the subject closer to the verb determines the number of the verb. Whether the subject comes before or after the verb doesn't matter; the proximity determines the number.
Incorrect usage: Either my father
is
or my siblings
are
going to drag race a unicorn in a Porsche.
Correct usage: Either my father or my siblings
are
going to drag race a unicorn in a Porsche.
6. The words "there" and "here" are never subjects.
Incorrect usage: Here
are
two fish to eat.
Correct usage: Fresh, creepy fish
is
waiting on the table for your gastronomic enjoyment.
7. Verbs in the present tense for third-person, singular subjects ("he," "she," "it," and anything those words can stand for) have s-endings.
Incorrect usage: Mary
like
her new pet, but her brothers
likes
their old hound dog.
Correct usage: Mary
likes
her new pet, but her brothers
like
their old hound dog.
8. Sometimes modifiers will get between a subject and its verb, but these modifiers must not confuse the agreement between the subject and its verb.
Incorrect usage: The
butterfly
, that flitted here and there, like a scrap of garbage that didn't get into the trash truck, and that was happy as it flew through the air,
died
.
Correct usage: The
butterfly
, who flitted here and there,
died
.
10. Some words end in "-s" and appear to be plural, but they are really singular and require singular verbs.
Incorrect usage: The news
are
awful!
Correct usage: The news
is
awful!
11. Fractional expressions such as "half of," "a part of," "a percentage of," and "a majority of" are sometimes singular and sometimes plural, depending on the meaning. (The same is true, of course, when "all," "any," "more," "most" and "some" act as subjects.)
Incorrect usage: Two-thirds of the sheep
was
voting for the wolf.
Correct usage: Two-thirds of the sheep
were
voting for the wolf.
12. If a sentence compounds a positive and a negative subject and one is plural while the other is singular, the verb should agree with the positive subject.
Incorrect usage: The cats but not the dogs
have not
decided to destroy the house while the owners are gone.
Correct usage: The cats but not the dogs
have
decided to destroy the house while the owners are gone.
2. Some indefinite pronouns (for example, "everyone" and "everybody") seem like they should have plural verbs. They are always singular, though!
3. Phrases such as "together with," "as well as," and "along with" are not the same as "and."
Incorrect usage: The Beatles as well as The Rolling Stones
is
my favorite bands.
Correct usage: The Beatles as well as The Rolling Stones
are
my favorite bands.
~ or ~
The Beatles
and
The Rolling Stones are my favorite bands.
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