Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Mastering Subject-Verb Agreement: Simplified Rules and Examples for Flawless Writing

 Rule 1: A verb must match its subject in number and person.

  • Example: The cat runs fast.

Rule 2: Avoid the error of making the verb agree with a noun that is not the subject.

  • Example: The bouquet of flowers smells lovely.

Rule 3: Two singular subjects connected by ‘and’ need a plural verb.

  • Example: The pen and pencil are on the table.
  • Exception: If the two subjects represent one idea, the verb is singular.
  • Exception Example: Peanut butter and jelly is a classic sandwich combo.

Rule 4: Singular subjects joined by ‘or’ or ‘nor’ take a singular verb.

  • Example: Neither the car nor the bike is available.
  • Exception: If one of the subjects is plural, the verb should be plural.
  • Exception Example: Neither the teacher nor the students are in the classroom.

Rule 5: When subjects of different persons are joined by ‘or’ or ‘nor’, the verb agrees with the nearer subject.

  • Example: Either my brother or I am going to the store.
  • Exception: It’s better to rephrase to avoid confusion.
  • Exception Example: My brother is going to the store, or I am.

Rule 6: Words like ‘either’, ‘neither’, ‘each’, ‘everyone’, ‘many a’ require a singular verb.

  • Example: Each of the dogs has a toy.
  • Exception: None.
  • Exception Example: N/A

Rule 7: ‘Each’ or ‘every’ before two nouns joined by ‘and’ requires a singular verb.

  • Example: Every cat and every dog was given a treat.

Rule 8: Some nouns that are plural in form but singular in meaning take a singular verb.

  • Example: Mathematics is my favorite subject.

Rule 9: ‘Pains’ and ‘means’ can take either singular or plural verbs, but be consistent.

  • Example: Great pains has been taken.
  • Exception: ‘Means’ as income always takes a plural verb.
  • Exception Example: His means are sufficient.

Rule 10: Some nouns singular in form but plural in meaning take a plural verb.

  • Example: Twelve dozen cost a lot.

Rule 11: ‘None’ can take either a singular or plural verb, but it’s commonly plural.

  • Example: None of the options were suitable.

Rule 12: A collective noun takes a singular verb when seen as a whole, plural when individuals are considered.

  • Example: The committee has reached a decision.
  • Exception: When focusing on individual members, use a plural verb.
  • Exception Example: The committee are having a debate.

Rule 13: Plural proper names for a single object or unit take a singular verb.

  • Example: “The Avengers” is a popular movie.

Rule 14: A plural noun for a specific quantity or amount as a whole takes a singular verb.

  • Example: Ten dollars is the price of admission.

To read in detail with more examples and interactive quiz, Click Here.