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Subject-Verb Agreements - Aims English

Learn Subject Verb Agreements

Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental grammar rule that determines the correct relationship between the subject and verb in a sentence. This rule ensures that the verb agrees with the number and person of the subject. Here are some rules to follow for subject-verb agreement:

Here are some examples of common Subject Verb Agreements Rules:
  1. Collective nouns that refer to groups of people, such as “jury,” “team,” “committee,” and “staff,” can take either a singular or plural verb, depending on the context.

Example: The committee has made its decision. (singular verb) The committee are divided on the issue. (plural verb)

  1. When a singular subject is modified by a prepositional phrase that includes a plural object, the verb agrees with the subject.

Example: The group of students is studying for their exams. (plural object in prepositional phrase modifies singular subject)

  1. When the subjects of a sentence are connected by “or” or “nor,” the verb agrees with the closest subject.

Example: Neither the manager nor the employees were satisfied with the new policy. (verb agrees with the closest subject)

  1. When the subjects of a sentence are connected by “either…or” or “neither…nor,” the verb agrees with the second subject.

Example: Neither the CEO nor the department heads have made a decision yet. (verb agrees with second subject)

 

  1. When the subjects of a sentence are joined by “and,” but they refer to a single entity, the verb is singular.

Example: Bread and butter is a popular breakfast item. (refers to a single entity)

  1. When a collective noun is used as a name, it takes a singular verb.

Example: The Beatles was a famous band in the 1960s. (collective noun used as a name)

  1. When the subject of a sentence is a relative pronoun, such as “who,” “which,” or “that,” the verb agrees with the antecedent of the pronoun.

Example: The book that was recommended to me is very interesting. (verb agrees with antecedent “book”)

  1. When the subject of a sentence is a gerund, the verb is always singular.

Example: Swimming is good exercise.

  1. When an amount of money or time is the subject of a sentence, the verb is singular.

Example: Two hundred dollars is a lot to spend on a dinner.

  1. When an expression of quantity, such as “a lot,” “a majority,” or “some,” is the subject of a sentence, the verb agrees with the noun that follows the expression.
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