Rules For Subject Verb Agreement

Rules for Subject Verb Agreement

The easiest and basic rules for subject-verb agreement is:-

Root Rule–  A singular subject takes a singular verb and a plural subject takes a plural verb.

For Example-

  • The list of grocery items is/are on the dining table.
    • Here list is the subject which is singular, so we choose ‘is’ as the verb.
  • The lists of every items are kept on the dining table
    • Here, the ‘lists’ is the plural subject, hence we take ‘are’.
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rules for subject verb agreement

Subject Verb Agreement Rules

Rule 1:

In Singular Subject must use these verbs is, was, has, does, or verb ending with s or es but these verb are of singular forms of verbs.

Example:

  • The boy carries a pile of books everyday.
  • Rita is writing a book for her assignment

 

Rule 2:

In Plural Subject must use these verbs are were, have, do or verbs without s or es because these are the plural forms of verbs.

Example:

  • The boys carry a pile of books everyday.
  • The students are writing a book for their assignment

 

Rule 3:

If there is pronoun YOU as the sentence subject, we MUST use the plural form of verbs, which are as follows:- are, were, have, do or verbs without s or es ending

Example:

  • You are responsible for all the activities in the classroom
  • You have to give me the book that you borrowed yesterday

 

Rule 4:

Compound subject contains both singular and plural noun or pronoun which is either joined by or/nor, the verb should be singular

Example:

  • Rita or Rohan is selected for the post of secretary
  • Pen or pencil is allowed to be used for the exam

 

Rule 5:

The following words are singular and require a singular verb:- each one, each, neither, everybody, everyone, someone, somebody.

Example:

  • Each of the ministers is against the bill in the Parliament
  • Everybody in the room admires him for his bravery

 

Rule 6:

If the sentence is beginning with “there is” or “there are” the verb is followed by a subject. Therefore “there” is not the subject the verb agrees with what follows.

Example:

  • There are apples kept in the fruit basket
  • There is a pencil lying under the bed

 

Rule 7:

General Rule- use a plural verb when two or more subject is joined together by and.

Example:

  • Rita and Rohan are selected as the volunteers
  • Priya and Yash love to go for a live music session every Sunday

 

Rule 8:

If the collective noun refers to the group as a unit, then it takes a singular verb.
 
If it refers to the individuals in the group or the parts that make up the group, then the verb should be plural.
 

Example:

  • The pride of lion walking in the jungle is the most jaw dropping sight to watch –
    • Here, the pride of lion is taken together as a single unit.

  • The pride of lion are sometimes divided on their choice of prey. –
    • here, the pride of lion considers each lion individually where they have separate choices and do not work together.

 

Rule 9:

Whenever we use numbers in a statement, they are often taken as singular subjects along with singular verbs even if the number is plural.

Example:

  • Fifty Thousand rupees is not a huge sum of money to donate
  • Five kilometers is a long distance to cover on foot

 

Rule 10:

Using added words like ‘along with’, ‘as well as’, ‘as well’ etc, with the main subject always takes singular verb.

Example:

  • Rohan along with his mother is at the museum
  • The teacher as well as the principal has to attend the annual meeting tomorrow

 

Rule 11:

‘A number’ takes plural verb while ‘the number’ takes singular verb in a sentence.

Example:

  • A number of visitors are waiting in the lobby of the hotel
  • The number of visitors waiting in the lobby is huge

 

Note:- Subject-verb agreement is necessary to ensure that there is no grammatical error and the subject agrees with the type of verb used. With the above-mentioned rules, you will be able to answer the subject-verb agreement questions easily.

Practice Questions

Question 1

Samantha’s mother were kill in the car accident. Five months ago.

Option

  1. was killed
  2. Is killed
  3. was kill
  4. None of the above
Explanation

Since the sentence is in the simple past tense, therefore “was Killed’ will come in place of were kill.

Hence Option A is the correct one.

Question 2

Tom ______ his father in everything he does

Option

  1. Imitate
  2. Imitates
  3. Imitating
  4. Imitated
Explanation

Since the sentence is in the simple present tense, therefore the verb will be in present tense too. Because Tom is a singular subject, we will take ‘imitates’ as the answer.

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