A singular verb is used with a singular subject.
A plural verb is used with a plural subject.
The verb must agree with the subject.
More subject-verb agreement to remember.
Agreement is the condition that one word or a sentence part must agree with an earlier word, phrase, or clause. Put simply, a subject must agree with its verb in number. Number means singular or plural. A singular subject refers to one person, place, thing, or idea while a plural refers to more of each of them.
My uncle has bushy eyebrows.
They are running downstairs.
In the two sentences, the noun (=uncle) and pronoun (=they) are called the subjects.
The word uncle is a singular subject. The verb used with the subject must therefore be singular (=has).
The subject they is plural. The verb (=are) used with the plural subject is plural too.
1. A Singular Verb is Used with a Singular Subject
My dog is my closest friend.
Subject dog is in the singular.
Verb is is in the singular.
She eats a lot of Belgian chocolate.
Subject She is in the singular.
Verb eats is also in the singular.
My friend and neighbour has been a magician for many years.
(Two nouns refer to the same person, so singular has is used.)
The nurse and sister of the patient cares for him.
(Nurse and sister are the same person, singular verb cares is used.)
Bread and butter is his only food.
(Bread and butter stand for one item, that is, food. Singular is is used.)
2. A Plural Verb is Used with a Plural Subject
They have a large turkey farm.
Subject They is in the plural.
Verb have is also in the plural.
We eat lots of nice food at weekends.
Subject We is in the plural.
Verb eat is also in the plural.
The nurse and the sister of the patient care for him.
(Nurse and sister are different persons, plural verb care is used.)
3. The Verb Must Agree with the Subject
The verb must be made to agree with the subject and not with the noun next to it.
EXAMPLE: Her box of chocolates are a birthday present. (INCORRECT)
The verb are in this sentence is used wrongly. Here, we are talking about a box of chocolates, and not just chocolates. The subject of the sentence is box and not chocolates. The subject box is in the singular, so the verb too must be in the singular, the verb therefore must be is not are.
The correct sentence should now be: Her box of chocolates is a birthday present.
The man with two bags are heading for the airport. (wrong)
The man with two bags is heading for the airport. (right)
Subject: man, not bags / man = singular / verb = singular = is
His instruction to the boys were not clear. (wrong)
His instruction to the boys was not clear. (right)
Subject: instruction, not boys / instruction = singular / verb = singular = was
The thieves who stole the money has escaped. (wrong)
The thieves who stole the money have escaped. (right)
Subject: thieves, not money / thieves = plural / verb = plural = have
The cost of goods have gone up. (wrong)
The cost of goods has gone up. (right)
Subject: cost, not goods / cost = singular / verb = singular = has
One of the boys are the leader. (wrong)
One of the boys is the leader. (right)
Subject: one, not boys / one = singular / verb = singular = is
4. More Subject-Verb Agreement to Remember
1. When two nouns or pronouns are joined together by and, the verb should be in the plural.
The lion and the tiger are carnivorous animals. (NOT: is)
John and I were close colleagues. (NOT: was)
2. When two nouns refer to the same person or thing, the verb is in the singular.
My uncle and handyman is very useful. (NOT: are)
The owner and manager of the store is very friendly. (NOT: are)
3. When two nouns refer to the same person, the article the is used only once and the verb is in the singular.
The owner and occupant of the house was never seen again. (NOT: were)
The nurse and sister of the patient was very caring. (NOT: were)
4. If two different persons are referred to, the article is repeated and the verb is in the plural.
The owner and the occupant of the house are very good friends. (NOT: is)
The teacher and the father of the student are talking about him. (NOT: is)
5. If two nouns are treated as one entity, the verb must be in the singular.
Time and tide waits for no man. (NOT: wait)
Milk and fruit is a good diet. (NOT: are)
6. Words joined to a singular subject by with, as well as, together with, etc. do not mean the same as and and the verb is therefore in the singular.
The woman, with her daughter, is selling flowers. (NOT: are)
Bob, as well as his brother, is chosen to play in the football team. (NOT: are)
The girl, together with her parents, goes climbing every summer. (NOT: go)
7. Two nouns qualified by each and every even though they are joined by and, take a verb in the singular.
Each and every participant has to undergo a medical examination. (NOT: have)
Every girl and every boy wants to participate. (NOT: want)
8. When a quantity or an amount is treated as a whole, the verb is singular.
Two hundred dollars nowadays is not a big sum.
She said seventy kilograms is her weight.
Ten kilometers is a long distance to walk.
The $100.00 you lent me was not enough.
How many cents is equal to one dollar?
a) THE SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE
b) NEGATIVE STATEMETS