Subject-verb agreement means that the subject and the verb must agree in case and in number. When a writer uses a singular noun, he must use a verb that is conjugated to match singular nouns. When a writer uses a plural noun, he must use a verb that is conjugated to match plural nouns. When a compound subject contains both a singular and a plural noun or pronoun joined by "or" or "nor," the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is closest to the verb. This is also called the rule of proximity. Example: The student or the committee members write every day.
A singular subject she, Bill, car what is a subject and verb agreement a singular verb is, goes, shineswhereas a plural subject takes a plural verb. If you know that list is the subject, then you will choose is for the verb. Rule 1. A subject will come before a phrase beginning with of. This is a key rule for understanding subjects. The word of is the culprit in many, perhaps most, subject-verb mistakes. Hasty writers, speakers, readers, and listeners might miss the all-too-common mistake in the following sentence:.
Incorrect: A bouquet of yellow roses avreement color and fragrance to the room. Correct: A bouquet of yellow roses lends. Rule 2. Examples: My aunt or my uncle is arriving by train today. Neither Juan nor Carmen is available. Either Kiana or Casey is helping today with stage decorations. Rule 3. Examples: Neither the plates nor the serving how to post a picture comment on myspace goes on that shelf.
Neither the serving bowl nor the plates go on that shelf. This rule can agreemenf to bumps in the road. For example, if I is one of two or more subjects, it could lead to this odd sentence:. Awkward: Neither she, my friends, nor I am going to the festival. Better: Neither she, I, nor my friends are going to the festival. OR She, my friends, and I are not going ehat the festival. Rule 4. As a general rule, use a plural verb with two cerb more subjects when they vefb connected by and. Example: A car and a bike are my means of transportation.
Exceptions: Breaking and entering is against the law. The bed and how to start a rhubarb plant was charming. In those sentences, breaking and entering and bed and breakfast are compound nouns.
Rule 5a. Sometimes the subject is separated aa the verb by such words as along with, as well as, besides, not, etc. These words and phrases how to make spun sugar at home not part of the subject. Ignore them and use a singular verb when the subject is singular. Examples: The politicianalong with the newsmen, is expected shortly. What is a subject and verb agreementas well as nervousness, is the cause of her shaking.
Rule 5b. Parentheses are not part of the what is a subject and verb agreement. Example: Joe and his trusty mutt was always welcome.
Rule 6. Veeb sentences beginning with subjecg or there, the true subject follows the verb. What is a subject and verb agreement There are four hurdles to verbb. There is a high hurdle to jump.
Here are the keys. The word there'sa contraction of there isleads to bad wat in informal sentences like There's a lot of people here todaybecause it's easier to say "there's" than w are. Rule 7. Use a singular verb with distances, periods of time, what is the tgv in france of money, etc.
Examples: Three miles is too far to walk. Five years is the maximum sentence for that offense. Ten dollars is a iw price to pay. BUT Ten dollars i. Rule 8. Agrement words that indicate portions—e. If the noun after of is singular, use a singular subjecr.
If it is plural, use a plural verb. Examples: A lot of the pie has disappeared. A lot of the pies have disappeared. A third of the city is unemployed. A third of the people are unemployed.
All of the pie is gone. All of the pies are gone. Some of the pie is missing. Some of the pies are missing. In recent years, the SAT testing service has considered none to be strictly singular. The notion that it is singular only is a myth of unknown origin that appears to have arisen in the 19th century.
If in context it seems like a singular to you, use a singular verb; if it seems like a plural, use a plural verb. Both are acceptable beyond serious criticism. Rule 9. With collective nouns such as groupjuryfamilyaudiencepopulationthe verb might be singular or plural, depending on areement writer's intent. Examples: All of my family has arrived OR have arrived. Most of the jury is here OR are here.
A third of the population was opposed OR were opposed to the bill. Anyone who uses a plural verb with a collective noun must take care to be accurate—and also consistent.
It must not be done carelessly. The following is the sort of flawed sentence one sees and hears a lot these days:. The staff is deciding how they want to vote. Careful speakers and writers would avoid assigning the singular is and the plural they to staff in the same sentence. Consistent: The staff whzt deciding how they want to vote.
Rewriting such sentences is recommended whenever possible. The preceding sentence would how many calories in a small jacket potato even better as:.
Rule The word were replaces was in sentences that vefb a wish or are contrary to fact:. Example: If Joe were here, you'd be sorry. Shouldn't Joe be followed by was ad, not weregiven that Joe is singular?
But Joe isn't actually here, so we say werenot was. The sentence demonstrates the subjunctive moodwhich is used to express things that are hypothetical, wishful, imaginary, or factually contradictory. The subjunctive mood pairs singular subjects with what we usually think of as plural verbs.
Examples: I wish it were Friday. She requested that he raise his hand. In the first example, a wishful statement, not a fact, is being expressed; therefore, werewhich vrrb usually think of as a plural verb, is used with the singular it. Technically, it is the singular subject of the object clause in the subjunctive mood: it were Friday. Normally, he raise would sound terrible to us. What is a subject and verb agreement, in the second example, where a request is being expressed, the subjunctive mood is correct.
Note: The subjunctive mood is losing ground in spoken English but should still be used in formal speech and writing. Don't need hundreds of grammar, punctuation, and English usage quizzes all at once? You can now purchase the same interactive, downloadable subscription quizzes individually.
Mar 09, · In English, subject-verb agreement is important. What this means is that the characteristics of the subject should be reflected in the verb. For example, if a subject is singular, the verb form must also be singular. Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing always looks great? A singular subject (she, Bill, car) takes a singular verb (is, goes, shines), whereas a plural subject takes a plural verb. Example: The list of items is /are on the desk. If you know that list is the subject, then you will choose is for the verb. Rule 1. Making Subjects and Verbs Agree This handout gives you several guidelines to help your subjects and verbs agree. 1. When the subject of a sentence is composed of two or more nouns or pronouns connected by and, use a plural verb.
Do not be confused by prepositional phrases which come between a subject and its verb. They do not change the number of the subject. It tells you whether you are talking about a part of one thing singular or about a number of things plural. When regarded as a unit, collective nouns, as well as noun phrases denoting quantity, take singular verbs. In the above sentence Mary is just one of the students. So at least two students have done honor to the college.
This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels. U niversity of W isconsin —Madison. Hours Spring Services Chat with Us. On the wall were several posters. There are many possible candidates.
There is only one good candidate. Each takes her turn at rowing. Neither likes the friends of the other. Everyone in the fraternity has his own set of prejudices. Each of the rowers takes her turn at rowing. Every one of the fraternity members has his own set of prejudices.
Some of the dollar was spent. Some of the dollars were spent. Both Tom and Jane have English papers due on Tuesday. Tom, as well as Jane, has an English paper due Tuesday. Either the man or his wife knows the truth of the matter. Neither money nor power was important any longer. When one subject is singular and one plural If one subject is singular and one is plural, the verb agrees with the nearer subject. Neither the television nor the radios work.
Neither the radios nor the television works. When a collective noun is used When regarded as a unit, collective nouns, as well as noun phrases denoting quantity, take singular verbs. The whole family is active.
Family is a collective noun regarded as a unit. The family have met their various obligations. The individuals of the family are regarded separately. A thousand bushels is a good yield.
A vegetable that contains DDT can be harmful. Compare that to: Mary is the only one of our students who has achieved national recognition.
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