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Subject-Verb Agreement


A Verb must agree with its subject in number and person.


1. Two or more singular subjects connected by “and” usually take a verb in the plural. E.g. Surbhi and Anu were studying.


2. When two subjects represent one idea, then the verb is singular. E.g. Bread and butter is his favourite food.


3. When two singular nouns refer to the same person or thing, the verb must be singular. E.g. My friend and guide has come.


4. When the singular subjects are preceded by “each” or “every”, the verb is usually singular. E.g. Every boy and girl was dressed in black.


5. Two or more singular subjects connected by “or, nor, either-or, neither-.nor” take a verb in the singular. E.g. Arun Ram or Shyam has gone to the market.

6. When the subjects joined by “or, nor” are of different numbers, the verb must be plural and when the subjects joined by “or, nor” are of different persons, the verb agrees in person with the one nearest to it. E.g. Surbi or her sisters have done this. Neither is my sister going, nor am I.



7. A collective noun takes a singular verb if the idea of oneness is expressed, it takes a plural verb if the individuals of the collection are thought of. E.g. The mob was arrested. The jury were divided in their opinions.




8. Nouns which are plural in form, but singular in meaning take a singular verb, and nouns which are singular in form but plural in meaning take a plural verb. E.g. The news is true. Two dozen oranges are lying on the table.



9. When two nouns are joined by “with” or “as well as” the verb agrees with the first noun. If the first noun is singular the verb must be singular. E.g. Gold as well as silver is considered valuable.




10. A relative pronoun always agrees in number and person with its antecedent. E.g. She is a girl who does her own work.



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