Subjects and verbs in a sentence must agree with one another. If a sentence is SINGULAR, the verb must also be SINGULAR; if a sentence is PLURAL, the verb must also be PLURAL.
The verb refers to the main action in a sentence and the subject refers to the person/thing responsible for the action.
The prime minister of New Zealand was travelling to Kenya for a conference.
(the verb-was travelling; the noun-the prime minister of New Zealand)
1. Singular subject takes a singular verb
|Singular Subject||Singular Verb|
|Each of the students|
2. Uncountable nouns take singular verbs
|Uncountable Subject||Singular Verb|
|The news||is very exciting.|
|The information||has been given to the students.|
|English||is a very interesting subject.|
|The dust on the mirror||needs to be wiped off.|
|The sand||is too hot.|
3. Plural subjects take plural verbs
|Plural Subject||Plural Verb|
|The teacher and the student|
|Both the students|
|A few of the students|
4. Singular and plural verbs with “Either…or” and “Neither…nor”
The use of either… or and neither…nor are always presented with two different options.
When there are two singular subjects, the action indicated by the verb can only be carried out by one of them.
Either the president or prime minister is attending the event.
Neither the resident nor the prime minister is attending the event.
When there are two plural subjects, the verb should always be in plural.
Either the teachers or students have to attend the event.
Neither the teachers nor the students have to attend the event.
Mixed singulars and plurals with either/neither
If one of the subjects is a singular and the other a plural, the verb should agree with the closest noun.
Either the teacher or students have to attend the event.
Either the students or teacher has to attend the event.
Neither the teacher nor the students have to attend the event.
Neither the students nor teacher has to attend the event.
5. One subject and more than one verb
If a sentence has one subject and more than one verb, the verbs in the sentence must agree with the subject.
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6. A phrase between the subject and the verb
If there is a word or phrase between the subject and the verb, the verb still agrees with the subject following the subject of the sentence (intervening words or phrases such as
AS WELL, IN ADDITION TO, NO LESS THAN, TOGETHER WITH, ACCOMPANIED BY)
The teacher, accompanied by the students, is joining the protest.
The boy with all the degrees is inspired to be a doctor.
The focus of the lectures was …………
7. “There” or “Here”
If a sentence begins with THERE and HERE, the verb agrees with the subject which follows it.
Here are the steps on how to bake a banana cake.
There is one major factor that affects student performance.
8. Expressions of distance, weight, money and time
Expressions of distance, weight, money and time are singular even if the form is plural.
Two million dollars was given to the lawyer.
Note: If the amount of money refers to separate units, the verb is plural.
Ten fifty-dollar notes were found.
9. If the word PAIR is used, the verb is singular
The words TONGS, SHEARS, SCISSORS, PLIERS, TROUSERS, PANTS are always plural but if the word PAIR is used, the verb is singular.
The scissors are on the table.
10. Use of mathematical expressions.
All of the following are accepted when using mathematical expressions:
Five plus two is seven.
Five plus two are seven.