Subject Verb Agreement, which is also known as Subject Verb Concord, is a fundamental grammatical rule that ensures the correct matching of subjects and verbs in a sentence. In this post, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of subject-verb agreement rules through clear explanations and illustrative examples.
In English grammar, subject-verb concord stands as a cornerstone, ensuring the harmony between subjects and verbs within sentences. These fundamental rules govern how verbs morph to match the number and person of their corresponding subjects.
Whether you’re a language enthusiast aiming to refine your skills or a student seeking to ace grammar assessments, a solid grasp of subject-verb agreement is indispensable.
Let take some examples to understand the basic rules of Subject verb agreement:
a. Ram goes to the park everyday.
b. We go to the park everyday.
The verbs in Sentences (a) and (b) demonstrate the agreement rule. In Sentence (a), the subject ‘Ram’ is singular. Hence, a singular verb ‘goes’ is used. In Sentence (b), the subject ‘We’ is plural. Hence, the plural verb ‘go’ is used. Such a relationship between the noun and the verb is called subject verb agreement.
Subject-verb concord or subject-verb agreement is also part of the syllabus in Class 10 and 9 CBSE. Hence, going through these rules and practicing them will help understand the basics of subject verb agreement and score well in the exam.
Subject Verb Agreement Rules
There are multiple rules for Subject Verb Concord. We have tried to explain the rules in multiple steps by breaking the rules in different parts. Due to which, you may find these rules to be more than other sources. So, let’s start with the basics first:
1. Rule: Singular subjects require singular verbs, while plural subjects require plural verbs.
- The cat sleeps peacefully. (here, the singular subject “cat” matches with the singular verb “sleeps”)
- The cats sleep peacefully. (here, the plural subject “cats” matches with the plural verb “sleep”)
2. Rule: Indefinite pronouns, such as “everyone,” “someone,” and “nobody,” are singular and require singular verbs.
- Everyone is invited to the party. (singular subject “everyone” matches with singular verb “is invited”)
3. Rule: Collective nouns, referring to a group as a single entity, can be singular or plural depending on the context.
- The team is practicing for the match. (singular subject “team” matches with singular verb “is practicing”)
- The team are arguing among themselves. (plural subject “team” matches with plural verb “are arguing”)
While dealing with collective nouns, one should determine whether the verb refers to the collection or the members within the collection. If the verb refers to the collection, the verb is singular. If the verb refers to the actions of individual members of the collective noun, the verb is plural.
In the above examples, first, the action is united and the verb refers to the collective noun ‘team’. Second example, the action is not united and the verb refers to the actions of the team members. Hence, it is plural noun.
The nature of the action of the members in the collection nouns also determines whether the verb will be singular or plural. If the action is in unison, the verb is singular. If the action is not in unison, the verb is plural.
4. Rule: Some collective nouns always agree with plural verbs.
The police are apprised of the matter.
5. Rule: When compound subjects are joined by “and,” they usually take a plural verb.
- Varun and Sweta are going to the movies. (plural subjects “John” and “Sarah” match with plural verb “are going”)
6. Rule: Sometimes, the compound subject may represent a single idea, notion or thing. In such cases, the subject will agree with a singular verb.
- Law and order was restored. (The words ‘law’ and ‘order’ represent the same idea.)
- Ramu, the gardener and cook, was absent today. (Here, ‘Ramu’, ‘gardener’ and ‘cook’ is the same person.)
- Peace and prosperity prevails. (‘Peace’ and ‘prosperity’ represent the same idea.)
7. Rule: When compound subjects are joined by “or,” “nor,” “either…or,” or “neither…nor,” the verb always agrees with the subject closest to it.
- Neither the cat nor the dog likes water. (singular subject “dog” matches with singular verb “likes”)
Must Read: Parts of Speech in Hindi
8. Rule: Singular subjects joined by “or,” “nor,” “either…or,” or “neither…nor” take a singular verb.
- Either the cat or the dog is responsible for the mess. (singular subjects “cat” and “dog” match with singular verb “is”)
9. Rule: Titles, names, and phrases representing a single entity take singular verbs.
For Subject Verb Concord Example:
- The United Nations is an international organization. (singular subject “United Nations” matches with singular verb “is“)
10. Rule: In sentences beginning with “there” or “here,” the subject follows the verb. The verb agrees with the actual subject, not the word “there” or “here.”
Example for Subject verb agreement:
- There are many books on the shelf. (plural subject “books” matches with plural verb “are”)
11. Gerund always agree with singular verbs.
- Smoking is prohibited.
- Farming was their occupation.
- Lying is a sin.
Some other rules of Subject Verb Agreement
There are some other rules of Subject Verb Agreement. While the main concept of these rules is to understand how the singular and plural verbs agrees with singular and plural subjects, it is necessary, to understand what subjects falls in the category of singular and plurals.
12. Rule: Phrases such as ‘along with’ and ‘as well as’ and ‘together with’ connect two nouns similar to the conjunction ‘and’. The verbs in these cases will agree with the first noun.
- The man along with his sisters lives with their mother.
- The minister along with the members of his party was staying in this hotel.
13. Rule: If distributive pronouns are in the subject, the verb will be singular.
- Each of the books was destroyed in the fire.
- Neither of the men is eligible for the post.
14. Rule: When units of measurement are used in the subject, the verb will be singular.
- 5 kilos of rice was bought by the wealthy man.
- 3 hours is not a long time.
15. Rule: Some nouns may end in ‘-s’ and may seem plural, but they actually are singular and hence, they agree with singular verbs.
- The news is not very good.
- Physics is my favourite subject.
16. Rule: Some nouns are always in the plural form and will agree with plural verbs. These words may sound awkward in their singular form. Many of them operate in pairs. Examples: Jeans, scissors, shorts.
- These pants require thorough washing.
- My glasses are missing from the table.
17. Rule: Some nouns do not have a plural form. These words may be singular or plural.
- The fish swims in the pond. OR The fish swim in the pond.
- The deer is petrified. OR The deer are petrified.
18. Rule: Fractional expressions may agree with singular or plural verbs depending on their number.
- Two-thirds of my hair are grey. (Two parts)
- One-fifth of the wealth was donated to charity. (One part)
19. The phrase ‘…is one of the’ will be followed by a plural verb.
- She is one of the greatest pianists who have ever played in this hall.
- Manish is one of the tallest boys who have played for the team.
20. Rule: Sometimes, a modifier may distance the subject from the verb. In such cases, the modifiers should not affect subject verb agreement in any way.
- He who garnered the most number of votes has been declared the winner.
- The monkeys living in the most secluded part of the jungle have made an appearance.
21. Rule: If a sentence begins with ‘here’, ‘there’, ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘those’, ‘these’ etc., the subject will always follow the verb.
For subject verb concord example,
- Here is your book. (The noun ‘book’ follows the verb ‘is’)
- Here are your books. (The noun ‘books’ follows the verb ‘are’)
Subject Verb Agreement Exercise
Here are some Subject verb agreement exercise that will help you clear the basic concept of the subject verb concord and provide a better understanding to score well in the exams.
- Your pants …………….. at the cleaners. (is/are)
- There ………. (was/were) twenty chocolates in that box. Now there ………… (is/are) only one left.
- The committee ……………….. (examine, examines) these questions carefully.
- All of the toys, even the broken one, ………….. (are, is) in that bag.
- The dog or the cats …………….. (is/are) outside.
- We …………… at the mall yesterday. (was/were)
- The curtains …………………. (matches/match) the wall colors perfectly.
- Vishnu and Neeta …………….. (is/are) moving to Hyderabad.
- Their son, Carver, …………. (is/are) a grade X student.
- Eight dollars ……………. (is/are) the price of movies these days.
- Michael Jackson is one of those artists who ……………… (has/have) admirers all around the world.
- The one glaring at her while munching on peanuts ………….. (is/are) her mother-in-law.
- The sheep …………… (jump/jumps) over the fence.
- The chairman or the CEO …………… (approve/approves) the proposal before proceeding.
- The buildings on each campus …………………. (was/were) recently completed.
- Every student in all classes ………………….. (has/have) been notified of the exam date.
- Here into the main ring of the circus ………….. (come/comes) the trained elephants.
- Nobody in the class …………. (has/have) the answer to this question.
- Margo and her parents ……………. (visit/visits) each other often.
- There …………… (is/are) a dog, a cat, and a mouse in the garage.
- Either the workers or the boss ………………. (deliver/delivers) the project.
- Each of the girls ………………. (observe/observes) all the regulations.
- This game ……………. (do/does) not require any special abilities.
- Rahul’s parents ……………….. (run/runs) threee companies.
- Everyone ………………. (has/have) problems in life.
- One of the greatest problems in the world …………….. (is/are) the growing population.
- Ten books of this library ………….. (is/are) missing.
- Either he or you ……………… (has/have) to do this.
- There …………. (was/were) a cow and a horse in the field.
- The father with his sons …………… (was/were) sleeping.
- Present Tenses Exercises
- Past Tense Exercises
Understanding subject-verb agreement rules is crucial for constructing grammatically correct sentences. By following these rules, writers can ensure that their subjects and verbs are in harmony, resulting in clear and effective communication. Remember to pay attention to the number and type of subjects in a sentence to maintain subject-verb agreement throughout your writing.
Some books to practice English Grammar: Check English Grammar Books here