Subject and Verb Agreement
Dec 15, 2015 Grammar 1977 Views
If a sentence has a singular subject, it is followed by a singular verb and if it has a plural subject, it is followed by a plural verb;that is, the verb agrees with the subject. Compare:
• She lives in Thailand.
• Most people live in Asian than in any other continent.
Some nouns with a singular form can be treated either as singular (with a singular verb) or (with a plural verb):
• The council has (or have)postponed a decision on the new road.
Other words like this include association, audience, class, committee, department, electorate, family, government, orchestra, population, staff, university, and the names of specific organisations such as the Bank of England, the BBC, IBM, Sony. We use a singular verb if we see the institution or organisation as a whole unit and a plural verb if we see it as a collection of individuals. Often you can use either with very little difference in meaning, although in formal writing (such as academic writing), it is more common to use a singular verb.
Some nouns are usually plural and take a plural verb. These include belongings, clothes, congratulations, goods, riches, savings, thanks:
• The company 's earnings have increasedfor the last five years.
Note:The nouns police, people and staff also always have a plural verb. The nouns whereabouts can be used with either a singular or plural verb.
Some nouns end in -s and look as if they are plural, but when we use them as the subject of a sentence, they have a singular verb.
• The news from the Middle East seems very encouraging.
Some phrases with a plural form are through of as a single thing and have a singular verb. These include phrases referring to measurements, amounts, and quantities:
• About three metres separates the runners in first and second places.
• The fifty pounds he gave me was soon sent.
When a subject has two or more items joined by and, we usually use a plural verb:
• Jean and David are moving back to Australia.
However, the phrases connected by and can also be followed by singular verbs if we think of them as making up a single item:
• Meat pie and peas isTom's favourite at the moment.
Other phrases like this include fish and chips, and research and development.
When a subject is made up of two or more items joined by (either). . . or. . . or(neither). . . nor. . . we use a singular verb if the last item is singular although a plural verb is sometimes used in informal English and a plural verb if it is plural:
• Either the station or the cinema is a good
place to meet.
• Neither the President nor the representatives are to attend the meeting.
If the last item is singular and the previous item plural, we can use a singular or plural verb:
• Either the teachers or the principal is (or are) to blame for the accident.
And also after per cent (or %) we use a singular verb:
• An inflation rate of only 2 per cent makes a big difference to exports.
• Around 10 per cent of the forest is destroyed each year.
However, in phrases where we can use of +plural noun we use a plural verb:
• I would say that about 50 per cent of the houses need major repairs.
But where we use a singular noun that can be thought of either as a whole unit or a collection of individuals, we can use a singular or plural verb:
• Some 80 per cent of the electorate is expected to vote.
Above some facts and examples that I mentioned are very important in using subject and verb agreement.
In this article, I give some examples to know how to write a meaningful and grammatical sentence and using in subject and verb agreement. Students can study some subjects and verbs orders easily.