Here given ten rules of subject verb agreement which will help you to understand the errors in sentences.
In any sentence the use of verb according to subject’s number and person is called verb agreement.
- He comes (If Subject ‘Singular’ then Verb ‘Singular’)
- They come (If Subject ‘Plural’ then Verb ‘Plural’)
V1 + s/es (plays, goes etc.)
V1 (play, go etc.)
Noun + s/es -> Plural noun ( With s/es noun becomes plural)
Verb + s/es -> Singular Verb ( With s/es verb becomes singular)
If two Subjects use with ‘and’ then Plural Verb will use.
e.g. Ram and Shyam are coming.
If two or more than two Nouns or adjectives use with and but they use only for one person, then Singular Verb will use.
My friend, philosopher and guide have come. (change ‘have’ to ‘has’)
Slow and steady win the race. (change ‘win’ to ‘wins’)
Fish and chips is my favourite dish. (Correct)
Note - i) If two uncountable nouns use with ‘and’, and act as subject then plural verb will use. e.g.
Poverty and misery come together. (Correct)
If two subjects add with “as well as, with, alongwith, together with, and not, in addition to, but, besides, except, rather than, accompanied by, like, unlike, no lessthan, nothing but” then verb will use according to first subject. e.g.
- Ram as well as his parents is coming.
- The captain along with the sailors was drowned.
- My father unlike my uncles is very strict.
If use of Article only with 1st Subject then it means only one man or object. So Singular Verb will use. e.g.
1) A white and black gown was bought by her.
2) Churchil was a great orator and a great politician of his time. (Incorrect)
Churchil was a great orator and politician of his time. (Correct)
But if use of Article with every Subject means different subjects and objects. So use Plural Verb. e.g.
The director and the producer have come. (Correct)
If two subject add with ‘neither….nor, either…..or, not only….but also, nor, or and none-but,’ then verb will be according to nearest subject. e.g.
- Neither Ram nor Shyam has come.
- Either Ram or his friends have come.
- Has Ram or Shyam come?
‘Neither of’….means ‘no one from two’.
‘none of’….means ‘no one from more than two’.
Neither of his four sons looked after him. (Incorrect)
None of his four sons looked after him. (Correct)
Either of…. Means one out of two.
One of…. Means one out of more than two.
Either of the five members is at fault. (Incorrect)
One of the five members is at fault.(Correct)
Note:- With Both not cannot use because for ‘no one from two’ neither of will use.
Both of them did not take the exam. (Incorrect)
Neither of them look the exam. (Correct)
Some noun by form its plural, but by meaning it is singular. With this we use singular verb.
1) Measles, Mumps, Rickets etc.
2) Billiards, Darts, Draughts etc.
3) The United States, The West Indies, etc.
4) The Arabian Nights, Three Musketeers etc.
5) Physics, Economics, Civics, Statistics, Pol. Science etc.
1) Mathematics is an interesting subject.
2) Politics is not my cup of tea.
Note- If Statistics use as data, Mathematics use as Calculation and Politics use as Political views then its use will be plural. e.g.
Statistics have revealed multiple scams in the organization of commonwealth games.
In a sentence a verb is according to the main subject. We usually place it with according to its nearest subject, but it is wrong. e.g.
1) The quality of apples is good.
2) He and not his parents is guilty.
3) The appeal of the victims for the transfer of the cases related to riots to some other states has been accepted.
With Collective noun always use Singular Verb.
1) The herd of cows is grazing in the field.
2) The committee has unanimously taken its decision.
Note:- But if there is some problem in Collective Noun or each person is mention then use plural verb.
1) The jury are divided in their opinion.
2) The audience have taken their seats.
With plural number, plural verb use. e.g.
Hundred boys are in my class.
Note:- If after cardinal adjectives (one, two, three, four,… etc.) plural noun use and with plural noun shows certain amount, certain weight, certain period, certain distance, certain height then singular verb will use. e.g.
- Hundred rupees is in my pocket.
- Ten mules is a long distance to cover on foot.
If any Relative Pronoun(Who, which, that etc.) use to add a Subject and a Verb, then Verb would be according to that Subject which is antecedent to that Relative Pronoun.
1) She is one of the noblest women that (R.P.)
hashave ever lived on this earth.
2) I am not one of those who (R.P.) will trust everyone whom
I meet they meet.
Always understand the meaning of the sentence. Second sentence meaning is ‘I am not from those people, who believe on that whom they meet.’ So Don’t use I meet, use They meet.
Each, Every, Everyone, Someone, Somebody, Nobody, None, One, Any, Many a, More than one means singular from their meaning. With this Singular verb, Singular noun, Singular Adjective & Singular noun use.
1) Each student has come.
2) Each boy and each girl has come.
3) One must tolerate one’s friend as well as
his one’s enemy
4) Many a student
have has not done their home work.
5) More than one man(S.N.) was(S.V) present there.
Note:- Watch use of ‘many’ in below sentences:-
1) Many a man has come.
2) Many men have come.
3) A great/ A good many men have come.
If after each, every, one etc., ‘of’ is using, so, the noun or pronoun which comes after ‘of’ will be plural but the verb, adjective, pronoun after that will be Singular.
One of the boys/ them(Noun/Pronoun (Plural)) has done the his work.
After Plural Noun or Plural Pronoun use of ‘each’, then it will be treated as Plural and Plural Verb will be use will be used with this.
We(P.S.) each have(P.V.) a duty towards our nation. (Correct)
Use of Indefinite Pronoun- ‘One’ as the subject of sentence, then with this singular verb will use and for this Singular Adjective/ Pronouns- one’s, one, oneself will be used, not he, him, himself etc.
One should keep his promise. (Incorrect)
One should keep one’s promise. (Correct)
Fictional sentences which starts with if, as if, as though, suppose, I wish, in case or would that. After this any number or person’s subject will be used, plural verb ‘were’ will use, not was.
1) I wish, I were a bird.
2) If he were rich, he would help others.
In Optative Sentences, with Singular Subject, plural verb will use.
1) God(S.S) save(P.V) the king.
2) Long live(P.V) the Queen(S.S).
A number of/A large number of/A great number of use with Plural Countable Noun and with this Plural Verb will use.
A number of students were present. (Correct)
Note:- But use of ‘The number of’ for certain number, then after this Plural Subject will use and it will use with Sentence’s Subject with Singular Verb.
The number of boys(P.S) are(P.V) fifty. (Incorrect)
The number of boys(P.S) is(S.V) fifty. (Correct)
If Amount of/quantity of use with Uncountable noun, then it will use with Sentence’s subject and with this Singular Verb will use.
The amount ofmoney(U.N) are(P.V) not sufficient. (Incorrect)
The amount of money(U.N)is(S.V) not sufficient. (Correct)
If ‘All’ use as uncountable, then it will treatsingular, and with this Singular Verb will use.
All is(S.V) well that ends(S.V) well.
But use of ‘All’ as quantity of people or good, then it will treat Plural and with this Plural Verb will use.
All are(P.V) well at home.
Furniture, advice, work, evidence, equipment, news, information, luggage, baggage, percentage, poetry, knowledge, dirt, traffic, electricity, music, breakage, stationary, confectionary, pottery, bakery, crockery, behaviouruse as Uncountable Nouns. So with this Singular verb will use.
1) The scenery(S.S) of Kashmir has(S.V) enchanted us.
2) I passed but the percentage(S.S) of marks was(S.V) not good.
Some Nouns are always use as Plural Nouns. It cannot be make Singular, if we cut ‘s’ at the end of it. It also looks like Plural, and it also use as Plural.
Scissors, tongs, pliers, pincers, bellows, trousers, pants, pajamas, shorts, gallows, fangs, spectacles, goggles, binoculars, sunglasses, Alms, amends, archives, arrears, auspices, congratulations, embers, thanks etc.
1) Where are my pants?
2) Where are the tongs?
3) The proceeds were deposited in the bank.
Some Nouns looks Plural, but use as Singular. It always use as Singular. e.g.
News, Innings, Politics, Summons, Physics, Economics, Ethics, Mathematics, Mumps, Measles, Rickets, Billiards etc. e.g.
1) No news is good news.
2) Politics is a dirty game.
Some Nouns look like Singular, but us as Plural. e.g.
Cattle, infantry, poultry, peasantry, children, gentry, police, people etc. With these ‘s’ will never use. Like Cattles, childrens are wrong. e.g.
1) Cattles are grazing in the field.
2) Our infantry have marched forward.
3) Police have arrested the thieves.
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