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Grammar Focus: Rules on the Subject Verb Agreement with Exercises

RULE 1. The verb agrees with the subject in person and in number. 1.1. Singular subjects take singular verbs. 1.2. Plural subjects take plural verbs. Ordinarily, a verb ending in s is singular, but noun ending in s is plural. To make the verb agree with its subject, ask yourself these questions: (1) What is the subject? (2) It is singular or plural? (3) In what person is the subject? Then choose the correct verb form. Examples: The dog bites that man. The dogs bite that man.

RULE 2. Most indefinite pronouns are singular and require singular verbs. These pronouns are: one, anyone, anybody, everybody, someone, somebody, anything, nothing, etc. Some indefinite pronouns are plural; these are: several, many, both, few, all, most, some, and others. All, most, and some may take either singular or plural verb depending on the modifier that follows them. The pronoun all takes a plural verb when it refers to concrete nouns; it takes singular verb when it refers to abstract noun. Examples 1. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussion. 2. Several guidelines on livestock production were distributed to farmers last month. 3. All the dishes are offered to the guests. 4. All love was shown to her by her mother. 5. Some of the swimmers have gone through extensive physical exercises. 6. Some of the swimmer has given up. 7. Some students skip classes.

RULE 3. Either and neither require a singular verb. Examples 1. If either of you takes a vacation now, we will not be able to finish the work. 2. Does either of the drivers have his license? 3. Neither of his friends goes to the beach.

RULE 4. Compound subjects connected by and usually require plural verbs. Examples 1. The botanical garden and the farm attract local tourist. 2. Mary and Sue are sisters.

RULE 5. Compound subjects preceded by each, no, many a, require a singular verb. Examples 1. Every man and woman deserves to be happy. 2. Many a flower and linen is enough to make this hall look elegant. 3. No man and woman is an island. 4. Each car and bus is to remain until five in the morning.

RULE 6. Sentence having either or and neither nor construction takes either singular or plural verb depending on the number of object introduced by or or nor. The verb should always agree with the nearest subject. Examples 1. Neither history nor geography is difficult for Lucy. 2. Either the apple or the mangoes are ready to be delivered.

RULE 7. A collective noun requires a singular verb if the idea expressed by the subject is thought of as a unit. A plural verb may be used if the idea expressed by the subject denotes separate individuals.


1. The choir is rehearsing the piece of Beethoven. 2. The members of the team are playing in the tournament next week. 3. The team have found jobs for the summer , so they will not be able to practice together until summer.

RULE 8. Inverted Sentence. When the subject comes after the verb, find it and choose the verb that agrees with it. There, Here, are an introductory words and can never serve as subjects of the sentence. Examples 1. Here come Ana and her groom. 2. There is season for everything.

RULE 9. Intervening phrases do not affect the number of subject. Be watchful! Examples 1. Jun, together with his wife, likes to go swimming every Sunday morning. 2. Several theories on this subject have been rejected.

RULE 10. The number generally takes singular verb, and A number takes plural verb. Examples 1. The number of students taking BSBA is increasing each school year. 2. A number of printing machines are recalled from the market.

RULE 11. Sum of money, units of measurement, and percentages take singular verbs. Examples 1. This time, one million pesos is not enough to build a 3-bedroom house. 2. Three kilos of meat costs P180.00.

RULE 12. Two nouns generally thought of together take singular verb. Examples 1. Rice and fish is a common Filipino breakfast. 2. Ham and eggs was my breakfast.

RULE 13. Nouns ending in s but singular in meaning use singular verb forms. Examples economics ethics 1. Physics is interesting. phonetics measles

RULE 14. Nouns which are always plural take plural verbs. Examples glasses scissors socks slacks 1. Dry goods are more profitable. 2. The proceeds of the affair have been submitted to the president. RULE 15. Abstract nouns are usually singular and require singular verb forms. Examples 1. Charity begins at home. 2. Happiness consists of reaching out to others.

NAME: ______________________________________ //Encircle the word that correctly completes the sentences. 1. The piano as well as the pipe organ /has, have/ to be tuned for the big concert. 2. The mayor together with his two brothers /are, is/ going to be indicted for accepting bribes. 3. Neither of my two suitcases /is, are/ adequate for the trip. 4. There /are, is/ a list of committee members on the head-table. 5. Everybody in the class /has, have/ done the homework well in advance. 6. The jury /take, takes/ their seats in the courtroom. 7. Neither the teacher nor the students (seem, seems/ to understand this assignment. 8. /Has, Have/ either of my father or my brothers made a down payment in the house? 9. Cebu is one of those cities which /is, are/ working hard to claim this years cleanest city title. 10. Some of the toys /have, has/ been destroyed. 11. John or his brother /are, is/ going to be responsible for this mess. 12. Few of the students /are, is/ doing so well; they can skip the next course. 13. Either the Committee on Course Design or the Committee on the College Operations /decide, decides/ on these matters. 14. One of my instructors /have, has/ written me a letter of recommendation. 15. Either the physician in this hospital or the chief administrator /is, are/ going to make a decision. 16. /Is, Are/ my boss or my sisters in the union going to win this case? 17. Some of the votes /seem, seems/ to have been miscounted. 18. The typhoons that tear through this country every year //are, is/ more than nuisance. 19. Everyone selected to serve on this jury /have, has/ to be willing to give up a lot of time. 20. Kara Wong, together with her teammates, /presents, present/ a formidable opponent on the basketball court. 21. He seems to forget that there /are, is/ things to be done before he can graduate. 22. Three-quarters of the students /is, are/ against the tuition fee hike. 23. A high percentage of the population /is, are/ voting for the new school president. 24. /Have, Has/ either Luis or his parents written to Angela? 25. Neither Luis nor his parents /is, are/ the least bit interested in keeping in touch with her. 26. Everybody in this team /try, tries/ really hard to please the new coach. 27. Because there /are, is/ so many students in that class, I can sometimes sleep in the back row. 28. Neither the traffic light on Rizal Avenue nor the one on Malvar Street /was, were/ working after the storm. 29. Mr. Lee, along with his friends, /have, has/ lived in this town for thirty years. 30. There /is, are/ no reason for this horrible development that I can see. 31. Either the Womens Team or the Mens Team /are, is/ going to be the national champion this year. 32. One of these students /have, has/ obviously cheated on the exam. 33. Carlo and his brother Ray /is, are/ travelling across the country next summer. 34. Several of the students /have, has/ decided to withdraw from the course. 35. There /are, is/ several reasons why you should reconsider your decision. 36. Howard and Vincent, who /runs, run/ a copy center in town, have decided to expand their business. 37. Both of the statues on the shelf /are, is/ broken. 38. The fishing boat that has been tied up at the pier for three days /is, are/ finally on its way this morning. 39. The chairman, along with his two assistants, /plan, plans/ to attend the annual convention. 40. The issues of inflation and tax reform /continue, continues/ to be on everyones mind. 41. Juan or Julian /prepare, prepares/ the conference room each week. 42. Not one of the performers /is, are/ at the party. 43. The results of the election /is, are/ not available for two days. 44. When there /is, are/ thunderstorm approaching, we are always reminded of the threat of the heavy rains. 45. A strong student government and an understanding faculty /is, are/ equally important in a school. 46. Neither Frank nor Ralph /are, is/ likely to make the baseball team this year. 47. /Has, Have/ the number of travellers by air increased rapidly in recent years. 48. The belt, pockets, and collar of the dress /are, is/ made of light green cloth. 49. He /doesnt, dont/ look at the audience. 50. The Decoration Committee /is, are/ asked to submit its report.