Error Correction - Subject-Verb AgreementEnglish Grammar
The verb in a sentence has to agree with the number of the subject.
Rule 1: A singular subject takes a singular verb.
A girl _______ (dance/dances) beautifully. [Answer: dances]
This article _________ (has/have) three paragraphs. [Answer: has]
Rule 2: A plural subject takes a plural verb.
Those girls __________ (dance/dances) beautifully. [Answer: dance]
These articles _________ (has/have) single paragraph only. [Answer: have]
Rule 3: If two singular nouns are joined by 'and' and used as the subject, it takes plural verb.
Mohan and Sudama _________ (was/were) fast friends. [Answer: were]
He and I _________(am/are) going to welcome them. [Answer: are]
Exceptions: Words used in pairs like 'bread and butter', 'bag and baggage' are considered singular and take singular verbs.
e.g. Blogging ______ (is/are) my bread and butter now.
Rule 4: A collective noun can be used both as singular and plural form. When a collective noun is used as singular form, a singular verb is used. When a collective noun is used in plural form, plural verb is used.
Our hockey team _________ (is/are) very hard working.
[Answer: is, 'hockey team' is singular noun. ]
Cattle _________ (is/are) grazing in the field. [Answer: are, Cattle is a plural noun.]
Rule 5: If two singular nouns/adjectives are joined by 'and' and the first noun is preceded by an article (a/an/the) or possessive pronouns (my, her, his, their etc.), then we use singular verb.
Rule 6: If two singular nouns/adjectives joined by 'and' and both the nouns are preceded by an article or possessive pronoun, then we use plural verb.
A black and white dog _________ (is/are) playing in the park. [Answer: is, there is one dog which is black and white in colour.]
A black and a white dog _________ (is/are) playing in the park. [Answer: are. There are two dogs, one black and other one is of white colour.]
Rule 7: Following nouns are always used as plural without any change in them.
People, poultry, gentry, peasantry, clergy, cattle
e.g. Many people ________ (shop/shops) here. [Answer: shop]
Rule 8: Scissors, binoculars, spectacles, pincers, pliers, trousers, jeans, oats, outskirts, premises, quarters, stairs, spirits, surroundings, thanks are used as plural.
e.g. Where ______ (is/are) my binoculars? [Answer: are]
Rule 9: The pronouns each and one make the subject singular.
None of these plates ________ (is/are) broken. [Answer: is]
Rule 10: If two or more than two singular nouns are joined by 'and' and each is used before first noun, then we use singular verb.
Each boy and girl _______ (is/are) intelligent. [Answer: is]
Rule 11: Plural noun/plural pronoun + each takes plural verb.
The students each _______ (has/have) a motocycle. [Answer: have]
Rule 12: When plural nouns explain specific amount, distance, quantity, time or period as a whole, the verb should be singular.
Hundred miles _______ (is/are) a long distance. [Answer: is]