English Grammar Common errors in subject-verb agreement| Exercises | Notes
ERRORS IN SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT
1. Singular subject must have singular verb.
e.g. He writes.
2. Plural subject must have plural verb.
e.g. They write.
3. Two subjects joined by and will always take a plural verb.
e.g. The doctor and nurse work together.
The doctor and nurses work together.
The doctors and nurse work together.
4.Two singular subjects joined by or or nor will take a singular verb.
e.g. A doctor or a nurse is working in the hospital.
5. A singular subject and a plural subject joined by or or nor will take a singular or plural verb depending on which subject is nearer the verb.
e.g. Neither Deepak nor his friends are joining the tour.
Neither his friends nor Deepak is joining the tour.
6.If the subject is singular and the predicate is plural, the verb must agree with its subject and not its predicate.
e.g. Physical conditioning and mental attitude are winning combination.
The winning combination is physical conditioning and mental attitude.
7. Indefinite pronouns such as
someone, somebody, each, nobody, anyone, anybody, one, no one, everyone, everybody, either, neither, etc. always take a singular verb.
e.g. Each of my friends calls me once a month.
8. Indefinite pronouns which indicate more than one (several, few, both, many) always take plural verbs
e.g. Both of the books required careful reading.
Several of the fielders regularly run four or five kilometers a day.
9. Collective nouns (fleet, army, committee, crowd)
are singular when the group works together as a unit and hence take singular verbs. .
e.g. The jury has reached its verdict.
The team runs in a smooth way.
10. Collective nouns are plural when the members of the group are acting individually and hence take plural verbs.
e.g. The jury have argued for five hours.
The team are putting on their uniforms.
11. Some words (such as news, measles, mumps etc.) end in —s but represent a single thing. These words need singular verbs.
e.g. The 7 o’clock news is about to begin.
Measles sometimes has rather serious side effects.
12. Some words (such as scissors, trousers, spectacles, shorts etc.) end in —s and seem to represent a single thing, but they are two parts to that single thing. These words take plural verbs.
e.g. The scissors are on the table.
His trousers are very costly.
13.Words (such as politics, ethics, athletics etc.) that end in —ies are usually singular and hence take singular verbs.
e.g. Mathematics is his favourite subject.
Politics is itself a dirty game.
But these words are singular when they refer to a study, science or practice. If these words have modifiers with them, they become plural and hence take plural verbs.
e.g. His politics are somewhat divided.
The mathematics of the tax-return are flaw-less.
14. Title of the books need singular verbs. e.g. Great Expectations is a good book.
Tom Jones is a book of Fielding.
15. Some nouns in the plural form represent an amount, a fraction, or an element of time. These nouns are considered singular and hence take sin¬gular verbs.
e.g. Sixty minutes is enough to finish this work. Three-fourth of the land is barren.
16. If two subjects are joined together by as well as the verb will act according to the first subject.
e.g. Students as well as the teacher are playing. He as well as his brothers is sitting there.
17. The subject Many a is always followed by the singular verb.
e.g. Many a man was drowned in the sea.
18. If two subjects are joined together by with the verb will act according to the subject.
e.g. The principal together with his students was seeing the final match.
The students together with the Principal were seeing the final match.
19. If subject is The number of… use a singular verb. e.g. The number of books is very small.
The number of boys in this team is ten.
20. If the subject begins with A number of …. (= many), use a plural verb.
e.g. A number of books are missing.
21. If two subjects express one idea, use a singular verb.
e.g. Bread and butter is wholesome food.
Soup and salad is too light a lunch.
22. When adjectives such as much, less, little and more are used as nouns, they must have a singu-lar verb.
e.g. A little of good habits makes our life happy. Less than a million of rupees is required.