Understanding SubjectVerb Agreement by ikevantrounk


									                                             SENTENCE GRAMMAR: SENTENCE PARTS
             Understanding and Practicing Subject/Verb Agreement
Subjects and verbs must agree in number. Generally, when the subject is a singular noun, the
verb must also be singular. When the subject is plural, the verb is also plural.
     Remember that adding an s to a noun makes it plural: dog + s = dogs. However, adding s
     to a present tense verb makes it singular: ask + s = asks. Here is the pattern:

    Plural subject: Subject + s                       Singular subject: Verb + s
    The students ask questions.                       The student asks questions.


Make sure the subject and verb agree when there are words between them.

       The rhythm of pounding waves is coming.
       The dogs in the neighborhood were barking.

Subjects joined by and are usually plural.

       My friends and my mother like each other.
       The team and the band were on the field.
       Building a good marriage and building a good log fire are similar in many ways.

Exception to the rule: a compound subject (one joined by and) takes a singular verb when the
subject is referring to a single person or unit.

My friend and co-worker is a native of Russia.

Singular subjects joined by or, either/or, neither/nor take a singular verb.

       Either John or Doris writes to us regularly.
       Neither Patty nor Tom was asked to preside.

If one subject is singular and one is plural, the verb agrees with the nearer subject.

       Neither the basket nor the apples were expensive.
       Neither the apples nor the basket was expensive.

Collective nouns that refer to the group as a single unit take a singular verb.

The committee is meeting today.
The jury convenes today.
The number is very small.

Collective nouns that refer to individuals or parts of the group take a plural verb.
       The majority of us are in favor.
       The jury are arguing.
       A number were absent.
Understanding Subject/Verb Agreement, continued:


Directions: Use the rules above to choose the correct verb form.

   1. Neither Karla nor Kayla (think/thinks) that the problem is solved.

   2. Attitudes about responsibility, of course, (vary, varies).

   3. A low wall and a high hedge (provide, provides) privacy for the entrance.

   4. There (come, comes) to my mind now the names of the two or three people who were
      most influential in my life.

   5. The grand prize (was, were) ten million dollars.

   6. A drugstore, as well as a movie theater, (is, are) in the immediate neighborhood.

   7. Such computers, which (stores, store) personal data, (jeopardizes, jeopardize) the privacy
      of millions.

            Provided courtesy of the Tacoma Community College Writing and Tutoring Center      2

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