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10 Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement

Published on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
10 Important Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement

The right selection of verb according to the subject is called subject-verb agreement.

Rules to be followed:

Rule 1. 

  • The singular subject is followed by singular verb and plural subject is followed by plural verb: 


  • The boys is playing in the field. (incorrect) 
  • The boys are playing in the field. (correct) 

Rule 2.

  • If the two singular subject are connected “with” and they point on the same thing or object or the first subject is connected with article then verb used will be singular: 


  • The principal and teacher have gone.(incorrect) 
  • The principle and teacher has gone.(correct) 
  • A black and a white cow is grazing in the field.(incorrect) 
  • A black and a white cow are grazing in the field.(correct) 

Rule 3.

  • If the two subject are connected with “and” and both the subject are preceded with article the verb used will be singular: 


  • The principle and the teacher has gone. (incorrect) 
  • The principle and the teacher have gone.( correct) 

Rule 4.

  • Following pairs of nouns are supposed to be singular and followed by singular verb: Bread and butter, bread and milk, slow and steady, rice and curry etc.. 


  • Rice and curry are tasty dish.(incorrect) 
  • Rice and curry is tasty dish.(correct) 

Rule 5.

  • If “each and every” is used before two or more subject the verb used will be singular: 


  • Each boy and each girl have finished breakfast. ( incorrect ) 
  • Each boy and girl has finished breakfast. (correct) 

Rule 6.

  • If the word each, either , or neither are placed in place of subject the verb used wil be singular: 


  • Each have come. (incorrect) 
  • Each has come. (correct) 

Rule 7.

  • “A number of” is followed by plural subject and plural verb while “the number of” is followed by plural subject and singular verb: 


  • A number of boys has come. (incorrect) 
  • A number boy has come. (incorrect) 
  • A number boys have come.( correct) 
  • The number of students are increasing. (incorrect) 
  • The number of students is increasing. (correct) 

Rule 8.

  • Phrase “more than one” is followed by singular subject and singular verb: 


  • More than one students were present. (incorrect) 
  • More than one student was present. (correct) 

Rule 9.

  • In the following words verb used will be according first subject: 
  • As well as, with, together with, along with, in addition to, rather than, and not, besides, 
  • Like, except, accompanied by, headed by, let by, governed by etc.. 


  • She as well as her parents have come.(incorrect) 
  • She as well as her parents has come.(correct) 
  • The teacher with all his students were present.(incorrect) 
  • The teacher with all his students was present.(correct) 

Rule 10.

  • Interrogative form of a sentence is used when a sentence starts with the following adverbs: 
  • Hardly, scarcely, rarely, seldom, never before, outside etc… 


  • Seldom he visits his hometown. (incorrect) 
  • Seldom does he visit his hometown.(correct) 
  • Hardly she goes to school. (incorrect) 
  • Hardly does she go to school.( correct) 
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