Subject Verb Agreement

Subject Verb Agreement

Remember, only the subject affects the verb!

Prepositional phrases between the subject and verb usually do not affect agreement

14.1 Look at the following chart.

Subject Verb
1.       singular subject takes singular verb
2.       plural subject takes plural verb
3.       two or more subjects connected by and plural verb
4.       indefinite pronouns: anybody, anyone, no one, everybody, everyone, somebody, someone, none, nobody singular verb
5.       nothing/anything/something/everything singular verb
6.       two subjects connected by accompanied by, as well as, along with,  together with, with, in addition to according to first subject
7.       Two singular subjects connected by or/either…or/ neither…nor/not only…..but also according to last subject/ near it
8.       distance/money/time/weight/volume/units of measurement singular verb
9.       word + relative pronoun + verb according to the word before Relative Pronoun
10.   sentences beginning with here/there according to the word after here/there
11.   If each/every/no comes before subject singular verb
12.   gerunds as subject of sentence singular verb
13.   Collective nouns like herd, senate, class, crowd singular verb
14.   Titles of book/movie/novel singular verb
15.   Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, News, Politics, Ethics, Measles, Mumps singular verb
16.   Several, many, both, few plural verb
17.   trousers, pants, slacks, shorts, briefs, jeans, Glasses, sunglasses, Scissors, pliers, tweezers  plural verb
18.   any, all, more, most, some, majority, half both singular and plural verb
19.   Arithmetical Operations (Five plus five is ten.) singular verb
20.   Population, public, electronics, dynamics, dollars, miles crowd, army, congress, committee, team, government, family, pair, dozen, scenery, knowledge, hundred, thousand, furniture, machinery, information, bread, money, advice, poetry, gallows verb singular
21.   One of the + noun/pronoun (plural) singular verb
22.   Uncountable noun (water, air, tea, sugar, environment, furniture, kindness, rainfall, reputation, wood, paper, gum, courtesy, earth, bread, oxygen, smoke, Bangla, English) singular verb


14.2 Note the use of foreign plurals

Singular Plural Singular Plural
Analysis Analyses Bacterium Bacteria
Thesis Theses Medium Media
Crisis Crises Criterion Criteria
Basis Bases Radius Radii
Appendix Appendixes/appendices Phenomenon Phenomena
Curriculum Curricula Stimulus Stimuli
Memorandum Memoranda Syllabus Syllabi
Datum Data Child Children
Alumnus Lumni Stimulus Stimuli
Stratum Strata Focus Foci
Formula Formulas Cactus Cactuses/cacti
Oasis Oases Axis Axes

14.3 Exercises on subject verb agreement

  1. The price of these jeans is/are reasonable The quality of the candies is/are poor. The books borrowed from the library is/are on my desk. The man with the roses look/looks like your brother. The causes of this prevalent disease are/is bad diet and lack of exercise.The members of the choir is/are very happy with the performance. The weather on the coast appear/appears to be good this weekend. The center on the basketball team bounce/bounces the ball too high. Some members of the faculty is/are present. A virus in all the company’s computers is/are a real threat to security. The women in the pool swim/swims well. A theory of physics ascertains/ascertain that a body in motion stays in motion. That red-haired lady in the fur hat (live/lives) across the street. The football players run/runs five miles every day.
  2. My brother is/are a nutritionist. My sisters is/are pious.The dog barks/bark when he is/are angry. The dogs barks/bark when they are angry. My sister and brother live/lives in Barisal. My glasses were/was on the bed. My pants were/was torn. A pair of plaid trousers is/are in the closet. The news from the front is/are bad. Measles is/are a dangerous disease for pregnant women. My assets were/was wiped out in the depression. The average worker’s earnings have/has gone up dramatically. Our thanks go to the workers who support/supports the union. The student works/work. He studies/study too. These pictures was/were drawn by the instructor. Children wants/want their parents to go to school. The designs on Indian pottery fascinates/fascinate me. The buildings on each campus was/were recently completed. All applications for the job has/have been received. Is/Are the tweezers in this drawer? Your pants is/are at the cleaner’s. The chalkboards in the school is/are scratched. Each year the winner from all the schools throughout the state seems/seem to be very much surprised. Annie and her brothers is/are at school. The dog or the cats is/are outside. Is/are the news on at five or six? All of the CDs, even the scratched one is/are in this case. Ill news runs/run a pace. His circumstances are/is not good. People don’t/doesn’t eat the same food. Vegetables contain/contains vitamin. Money begets/beget money. Which shirt do/does you want for Christmas? Here are/is two apples. My jeans is/are old. This year shorts are/is in fashion. Where are/is my scissors? All the money has/have been spent. All of the students know/knows the answer. Bread and butter is/are our daily food.
  3. A car and a bike is/are my means of transportation. The cow and the pig are/is jumping over the The dog and the cat is/are outside. moon. Red beans and rice is/are my mom’s favourite dish. George and Tamara doesn’t/ don’t want to see that movie. Benito doesn’t, don’t know the answer. He and Ritu are/is twins. The beginning of the story and the end of the story were/was exciting. Dolphins and elephants is/are highly intelligent creatures. Sleeping and reading is/are enjoyable activities. Men and women enjoy/enjoys yoga. Chocolate and strawberry is/are my two favorite flavors of ice cream. Furniture and paper is/are two uses for wood. Roses and gardenias are beautiful flowers. Tom and I is/are going on a cruise. Toy Story and Cars is/are movies created by Pixar. Tsunamis and hurricanes endanger people living near the coast. The players and coaches was/were satisfied with the game. Red and blue is/are the colors of the American flag. Argentina and Brazil is/are in South America.
  4. Everyone has/have done his homework. Somebody has/have left her purse. Everybody knows/know the answer. Nobody speaks German here. Somebody was/was in the room. Everyone has/have done his or her homework. Somebody has left her purse. Everyone has/have finished his or her homework. Everybody is/are here. Each of the students is/are responsible for it. Every one of those books is/are fiction. Nobody know/knows the trouble I’ve seen. Everything in the buildings was/were destroyed. Each boy and each girl was/were present there. Every boy and girl has/have been given 100 tk. Someone has/have stolen the pen. Anybody is/are more fun than you. Something is/are very wrong here. Everybody enjoys/enjoy a good book. Everybody was/were asked to remain quiet. Neither of the men is/are here yet. Nobody in the class has/have the answer. Nobody know/knows the trouble I’ve seen. Somebody will pay for this. Nothing has/have been determined as of yet. Every student in all classes has/have been notified.
  5. None of you claims/claim responsibility for this incident? None of the students have/has done their homework. Neither of them is/are available to speak right now. Either of us is/are capable of doing the job. Either are/is fine with me. Either answer is/are acceptable. Neither of the men meets/meet his class every day. None of them was/were present there.
  6. The mayor as well as his brothers is/are going to prison. The mayor and his brothers are/is going to jail. The teacher as well as the students was/were working on the problem. The mother together with her children is/are waiting. Jessica or Christian is/ are to blame for the accident. The man with all the birds live/lives on my street. The movie, including all the previews take/takes about two hours to watch. The players, as well as the captain want/wants to win. The politician, along with the newsmen is/are expected shortly. The International Club, as well as the Choral Society and the Rowing Club, needs/need to submit a new constitution. The man with all the birds live/lives on my street. The Prime Minister, together with his wife, greets/greet the press cordially. Gold, as well as platinum, is/are recently risen in price. The boss, as well as his colleagues, have/has been robbed by the robber. The Prime Minister, together with his wife greets/greet the press cordially.
  7. Excitement, as well as nervousness, is/are the cause of her shaking.
  8. Either Grandpa or my sisters are going to the park. Either my sisters or Grandpa is going to the park. Neither she nor I am going to college. Either Mary or Alice is responsible for this. Neither the Minister nor his colleagues have given an explanation for this. Neither my dad nor my brothers know/knows how to play chess. Either my shoes or your coat is/are always on the floor. Either my mother or my father is/ are coming to the meeting. Neither his father nor his mother do/does it. My mom or dad is coming to the play. Neither gray nor white is my favorite color.

Neither pen nor pencil is/are available. Either Makamum or Mahmuda is/are helping today with stage decorations. Neither Rana nor they do/does it. Either Shila or I am/is responsible. Neither my brothers nor my father is going to sell the house. Are either my brothers or my father responsible? Neither she nor I am/is going to the festival. Neither he nor I do/does it. Neither they nor I has/have told. Neither Jenny nor the others are/is available. Either the children or the man knows/know the answer. Either the cats or the dog is/are responsible for the mess. Either the dog or the cats are/is responsible for the mess. Either the bears or the lion has/have escaped from the zoo. Either the man or his friends know/knows the answer. Either the old men or the young man was/were responsible for the lovely music. Neither the teacher nor the students are/is in class this morning. Neither science nor math gives/give me a problem. Either the cat or the dogs greets/greet me at the door. Neither the men who are listed as administrators nor the woman who is also listed has/have been appointed to the board. Either my cousin or my uncle was/were on the critical list. Neither I nor a member of her staff is/are going to attend the meeting. Either my mother or my father is/are coming to the meeting. Either my shoes or your coat is/are always on the floor. Either my father or my brothers are/is going to sell the house. Is/are either my father or my brothers responsible? My aunt or my uncle is/are arriving by train from Dhaka today.

  1. The number of people we need to hire is/are thirteen. A number of people have/has written in about this subject matter. A number of people was/were absent in the meeting. The number of people in the hall appreciate/ appreciates it. The number of students in the class is fifteen. A number of students were late for class. The number of people we need to hire is thirteen. A number of people have written in about this subject. A number of suggestions was/were made. There is/are a number of important announcements in the bulletin. Here is/are the number of milk shakes you requested. A number of the players are still injured from the last game.The number of players accused of taking steroids iS increasing weekly. The number of people lined up for tickets was/were four hundred.
  2. Three weeks is/are a long time. Two hundred dollars is/are a lot of money. Ten dollars is/are a high price to pay. Five years is/are the maximum sentence for that offense. Thirty miles is/are a long way. 100 years is/are a long time. Eight dollars is/are the price of a movie these days. Ten tons is/are a heavy load. Fifty miles is/are a long distance. Thirty years is/are a long time. Eight dollars is/are the price of a movie these days.
  3. Ten minus five is/are five. Ten divided by two is/are five.
  4. Salma is the scientist who writes/write the reports. He is one of the men who does/do the work. It is my sister who works/work in the hospital. It is/are my cats which cause/causes the trouble. It is I who am/is your friend. It is you who are/is my friend. One of my best friends is/are Rina. The boy who won the two medals is/are a friend of mine.
  5. No smoking or drinking is/are allowed. Every man and woman is/are required to check in. Each of the students is/are responsible for doing it. Every one of the cakes is/are gone. I and not Rana do/does it. Each of the girls sings/sing well.
  6. Standing in the water was/were a bad idea. Swimming in the ocean and playing drums are/is my hobbies.
  7. The Burbs is/are a movie starring Tom Hanks. Gulliver’s Travels is/are a satiric novel. Arabian Nights is/are a popular programme. Great Expectations is/are my favourite novel. Lyrical Ballads is/are an exceptional book.
  8. Physics is/are my favorite subject. Economics is/are a complicated topic. Maths is/are found difficult by many students. Statistics requires/require complicated methods. Physics is/are a critical subject. Mathematics is/are my favorite subject. Civics is/are hated by me. Mathematics is/are disliked. Civics is/are Amina’s favorite subject.
  9. Both are/is happy with the grades they got. Many were/was lost on the way. Few have/has done their homework. Some of the beads is/are missing. Some of the water is/are gone. Some of the students has/have left the building. Several on the team hits/hit the ball really hard. Some boys have/has failed in the examination. Both are qualified for the job. Many went to the beach and got sunburned. Few know what it really takes to get ahead. Several are already on location. Some sugar are/is required for taste. Most of the cookies was/were eaten. Several of the sheep is/are sick. All of the milk is/are gone. Most of the seats was/were taken. Both the teacher and the student was/were surprised. All the students walks/walk to school. All of the CDs, even the scratched one is/ are in this case. Either of them has/have stolen it. Some of the fruit is/are rotten. Some of the apples are/is rotten. All of this apple is/are rotten. All of these apples are/is rotten.
  10. The herd is/are grazing. The class is/are going on. The crowd is/are in fire. The team is/are agreed. The committee meet/meets here every Thursday. The committee debates/debate these questions carefully. The jury have/has finally reached a decision. The committee leads/lead very different lives in private.The crowd is/are getting angry. The majority rules most of the time. The staff has/have gone their separate ways for the holidays.
  11. There is/are a tree in the garden. There are/is many trees in the garden. There is/are a pine tree and some oaks in the garden. There goes/go the cat. There seems/seem to be a relationship. There arise/arises problems. There arises/arise a problem. There was/were fifteen candies in that bag. Now there is/are only one left! There is/are no reason for this. There are/is seven clean plates in the dining room. There is/are a hair in my lasagna. There was/were fifteen candies in that bag. Now there is/are only one left.
  12. One of my sisters is/are rich. One of the boys is/are present there. One of his favourite pastimes is/are collecting match-boxes. One of the books have/has been missing. One of the most intelligent students is/are Rahat. One of my sisters is/are going to Dhaka. One of those books is/are fiction. One of my friends has/have gone to France.
  13. Every student and instructor hopes/hope for a new system. Each guardian and student was/were present. My favorite dish, rice and beans, reminds /remind me of my native friend. Each of the boys was / were given a present. Neither of the contestants was able to win a decisive victory. Each of the girls look/looks good on skis. Each of the girls observe/observes all the regulations. No prize or medal was/were given to the boy. Each gets a trophy for playing. Each of her students is/are special.
  14. The famous singer and composer has/have arrived. The creator and producer is arriving soon. The teacher and the workers has/have come. The prime minister and the members of the cabinet go/goes to the U.S.A, The headmaster and the other teachers go/goes to Dhaka. The Headmaster and the secretary have/has said many things. The teacher and examiner come/comes. The prime minister and member of the cabinet is/are in the U.S.A. The man and salesman was/were going to Dhaka. The boy and his brothers has come. The teacher and the controller was /were present. The secretary and the principal demand/demands new facilities in their college library. The politician and newsman is/are expected shortly.