Subject Verb Agreement Rules | English Grammar

In English, subject verb agreement is a grammatical rule, which states that the subject and the verb must agree in a sentence.

10 Subject Verb Agreement Rules

RULE 1

(Basic Rule)

The subject and verb must agree in number. A singular subject takes a singular verb, whereas a plural subject takes a plural verb.

  • A good medicine tastes bitter.
  • He goes to work by bus.
  • They visit us every other week.

RULE 2

The subject is separated from the verb by “with”, “as well as”, “together with”, “along with”. These words and phrases are not part of the subject. The verb agrees with the subject.

  • The politician, along with the newsmen, is expected shortly.

RULE 3

Two subjects joined by “and” are plural.

  • Mary and Joan are quite different.

Exceptions:

  • Bacon and eggs is my favourite dish.

In this sentence, bacon and eggs is a compound noun.

RULE 4

Two subjects joined by “or/not”, “either…or/neither…nor”, “not only…but also” take the verb that agrees with the subject closest to it.

  • Neither my mother nor my father goes to university.
  • Either my father or my brothers are coming.
  • Not only you but also I am planning to go.

RULE 5

With collective nouns, the verb might be singular or plural (UK), depending on meaning.

  • The audience was clearly enchanted by her performance.
  • The audience are strangely subdued, clapping politely after each song.

RULE 6

In sentences beginning with “here” or “there“, the true subject follows the verb.

  • There is a bush near the school playground.
  • Here are the keys.

RULE 7

The verb is singular if the subject is a singular indefinite pronoun such as each, either, neither, one, no one, every one, someone, anyone, nobody, somebody, anybody, everybody, one, no.

  • Nobody gets rich from writing nowadays.
  • Either of the plans is equally dangerous.

The verb is plural if the subject is a plural indefinite pronoun such as several, few, both, many.

  • Several villages have been isolated by the heavy snowfall.

And, some indefinite pronouns (some, any, all, most) may be either singular or plural, depending upon their use in a sentence: with uncountable, use singular; with countable, use plural.

  • Some of the books are out of place. Please put them in the right order. (Books are countable.)
  • Some of the music was weird. (Music is uncountable.)

RULE 8

Use a singular verb for expressions of measurement, time. money and weight when the amount is considered one unit.

  • Fifty dollars seems a reasonable price.
  • Three miles is too far to walk.

BUT:

  • Five dollars were scattered on the ground.

RULE 9

Plural form subjects with a singular meaning take a singular verb (such as mumps, home economics, social studies economics, measles, calisthenics, statistics, civics, physics, gymnastics, phonics, news, acrobatics, aesthetics, thesis, mathematics, …).

  • Gymnastics is his favourite sport.
  • Mathematics is the science of pure quantity.

RULE 10

Titles of single entities (books, organizations, countries, etc.) are always singular.

  • Harry Potter is an interesting novel.

Subject Verb Agreement Rules | Picture

Subject Verb Agreement Rules

 

2 responses on "Subject Verb Agreement Rules | English Grammar"

  1. Thanks a lot of dear teacher. In my opinion, this post is also one of the most important grammatical points. Thank you very much.

  2. As always, simple and useful. Thank you.

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