Agreement between Verb and Subject

Agreement between Verb and Subject :

Look at the following.

I am busy.

You are clever.

He is late.

They are here.

These four sentnces contain the same verb (be) and the same tense (simpe present). But the verb form is not the same on all the sentences. AM is used after I, ARE after YOU and THEY and IS after HE. That is….. Different verb forms are used with different subjects.

A verb must agree with its subject in number and person.

This rule gives no trouble as long as there is no doubt of the number and persons of the number and person of the subject. Sometimes it would be difficult to determine exactly the nature of the subject.

Collective nouns like family, govenemnt, team aucience and committee take either a singular verb or a plural verb. We use a singular verb if we are thing of the group as a whole.

The family has lived here for over a hundred years.

The government is not very popular.

The audience was large.

We use a plural verb if we are thinking of the group as a number of individual people.

The families have all gone on holiday.

The governments have asked the ocuntry to decide by a vote.

The audience are requested to keep their seats.

Here is the agreement between verb and subject.

The verb is always plural after people, police and cattle.

People often say such things.

The police are questionng two men.

The cattle are grazing in the field.

Here is the agreement between verb and subject.

We use a singlular verb after a noun phrase of amount or measurement.

Fiteen munutes is allowed to each speaker.

Rs. 225 seems a lot of money for a shirt.

20 kilometers is a long way to walk.

Here is the agreement between verb and subject.

We consider fifteen, Rs. 225 or 20 kilometrest to be a single thing (an amount or a quantity).

The following nouns ending in -S count as singular and therefore take singlur verbs.

1. News :

The new is true.

2. Subject names like politics, economics, phusics and mathematics :

Politics is one of his university subjects.

But : What are his politics (= his political opinions)?

3. Some propernames like Naples, Athens, Wales, The United States of America :

The United States of America is one of the most powerful nations in the world.

4. Some diseases like measles, mumps, and rickets :

Measles takes a long time to get over.

5. Plural titles of books

Gulliver’s Travels is an enjoyable book.

Some nouns denothing two things joined together, like specles, scissors, trousers, pants and pyjamas are treated as plural.

Where are my spectacles?

His trousers are dirty.

When two subjects are joined by or, either -------------or, neither -------------nor…….the general rule is that the verb agrees with the subject immediately before it.

Either your brakes or your eye sight is at fault.

Either your eyesight or your brakes are at fault.

Neither the inspector nor his officers were able to help us.

But it would be better to alter the construction and say.

Either your brakes are defective or my eyesight is.

The inspector was not able to help us, nor were his officers.

Singular nouns joined by AND usually take a plural verb. But a singular verb is used when we think of the nouns as making up one thing.

Bread and butter was given to the travelers.

When the subject is one of+ plural nouns, the verb should be singular to agree with one. It would be wrong to make the verb agree with the plural noun immediately before it.

One of my bothers lives in England.

However, the use of plural verb with either, neither, each, everyone, anyone one (which are treated as singular) followed by of + plural noun or prion is common in the speech of educated native speakers.

Neither of them knows the answer.


Neither of them know the answer. (Informal)

Similarly, when a singular noun is followed by with + plural noun (or nouns joined by and), the verb shoud be singular.

Mr. Raman with his wife and children has gone to Bombay. (Here the exact subject is Mr. Raman which is singular.)

Note that the expression more than one+noun, though plural in sense, is followed by a singular verb.

More than one person has died in the accident.

In sentences beginning with there, the verb agrees with the real subject which follows it. There is a man at the door.

There are many girls in our class.

Many students say “there is ----------“ even when the real subjects is plural.

Here is the agreement between verb and subject.

Business English Index

Business English Exercises Index

Agreement between Verb and Subject

Letter Asking A Donation
Letter Asking A Favor
Letter Asking for More Details
Letter Asking for Donations
Letter Denying of Dealership
Letter for Change of Address
Letter for Distributorship
Letter for Employment
Letter for Hotel Reservation
Letter for Letter of Credit
Letter for Line of Credit
Letter for Product Launch
Letter for Promotion
Letter for Retirement Congrats
Letter for Scholarship
Letter for Settlement of Bill
Letter for Tender
Letter for Testimonial
Letter of Agreement
Letter of Assurance
Letter of Credit
Letter of Enquiry
Letter of Order
Letter of Persuasion
Letter of Sympathy
Letter Offering Discount
Letter Related to Advertisement
Letter Related to Despatch
Letter Related to Training
Letter to A Foreign Buyer
Letter to Pen-Friend
Letter to Police
Letter with Order
Letter with Quotation
Letter Writing
Letters about Company Shares
Letters by Clubs and Societies
Letters by Landlords & Tenants
Letters for Appointment of Dealers
Letters for Business Relations
Letters for Buying and Selling
Letters for Credit & Collection
Letters for Foreign Travel
Letters for Lease & Tenancy
Letters for Loan & Borrowing
Letters for Transfer & Assignment
Letters for Insurance
Letters Noting Discrepancy
Letters of Condolence & Sorrow
Letters of Regret
Letters Regarding Maintenance
Letters Regarding Payment
Letters Related to Employees
Letters to Local Corporation
Letters to Postal Authorities
Letters to The Editor
Letters Used in Real Estate
Letters With Postal Department
Letters With Railways Authorities

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