Sentences: 20 Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement

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This lesson focuses on twenty unavoidable rules to follow concerning the subject-verb agreement in sentences. The basic rule states that a singular subject takes a singular verb while a plural subject takes a plural verb.
1. 20 Rules of Subject Verb

Can't we all just get along?

2. 1. Subjects and verbs must agree
in number.
* Singular subject = singular verb an
* Plural subject = plural verb a
* Cowe= singular, eats= singular
* Ducks= plural, quack= plural P)
* *Hint*= SVS- singular verbs have an S
* Singular yes?- the verb has an “S”!
* Singular no? The “S” has to go!


2. Don't get confused by the
words that come between the
subject and verb.
The detective who was called to the case
Is usually very good.
3. Prepositional phrases between
the subject and verb usually do
not affect the agreement.
ge )
The biker in this race is very competitive.
The bikers jn this race are very competitive.

4. lf a sentence starts with “there”
or “ here”, the subject will always
be placed after the verb.
ri . 5
j There is a meeting today.
at ia Here are the results from this past month.


5. Subjects can come after the
verb in questions.
* Does Betty always play with dolls?

* How are the Bosco sticks today?

7. 6. If two subjects are joined by
“and”, they typically require a
plural verb.
*) The puppy and the lady are friends.

7. lf two subjects are separated
by “and” refer to the same thing,
the verb is singular.
*) Spaghetti and meatballs is my favorite


8. If both subjects are singular and
connected by or, nor, neither/nor,
either/or and not only/but also, the
verb is singular.
* Sally or Bubba has stolen the

* Not only the guitar player but also the
drummer was soaked with sweat. rt

9. If both subjects are plural and
connected by the words or, nor,
neither/nor, either/or, and not only/but
also, the verb is plural.
*) Cookies or brownies are nice treats for
your teacher.

11. 10. If one subject is singular and one
plural and are connected by the words or,
nor, neither/nor, either/or, and not only/but
also, use the subject that is nearest the
*) Either my sisters or my mom has sent
me a present. *

* Not only Bob but also fhe Smiths want
some hamburgers for supper.

12. 11. Units of measurement usually
use a singular verb.
* Six gallons of paint was used on the
house. ak
* Five dollars is too much for a cup of
coffee. vy .
a | re)

12. Collective nouns usually
take a singular verb.
*) The herd is stampeding. oulecrngs
aren 8
he class was ready for the test.

13. Titles of books, movies,
novels, etc. are treated as
* Holes was one of my favorite books.|
want to see the movie.

15. 14. Two infinitives separated
by and take a plural verb.
* To run and to read are my two favorite
‘Free-time” activities.
eZ A


15. Gerunds alone take a
singular verb. Gerunds linked
by and take a plural verb.
* Dancing is not something everyone can
do as well as | can!
are oR,
17. 16. If the words each, every or no
come before the subject, the verb
is singular.

» Each boy and girl_has to take the test.
*) Every frog and toad turns into a prince.
* No paper and pen is reac
(But an apple would be nice!:) ~
» Dancing and singing come naturally to me

17. Most indefinite pronouns take
singular verbs.

one body thing
someone somebody something
anyone anybody anything
No one nobody nothing
everyone everybody everything
Little One * Everybody is happy.
Another Neither * No one has a dime.
Much Either * Nothing was going to help.

19. 18. Both, few, many, others,
and several take a plural verb.
* Several need to finish the race.
* A few have the right answer. i


19. When the subject is all, any, more,
most, none, or some, this is the ONLY
time you must look at the object of the
prepositional phrase to determine whether
it is singular or plural.
* All of the chickens have laid eggs.
are nHECiREes
* Some of the milk has spilled.
ore EEE,

20. Final rule- Remember, only the
SUBJECT affects the verb!