25 Subject Verb Agreement Rules and Examples

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Subject verb agreement is a crucial part of writing in the English language. It refers to the relationship between the subject and the verb in a sentence. When the subject and the verb do not agree, the sentence becomes grammatically incorrect and confusing for readers. Therefore, it is essential to grasp the rules of subject verb agreement to produce grammatically correct and effective writing.

Here are 25 subject verb agreement rules and examples to help you master this important aspect of writing:

1. Singular subjects take singular verbs, and plural subjects take plural verbs.

Example: The cat chases the mouse. (Singular subject and verb)

Example: The cats chase the mice. (Plural subject and verb)

2. Singular subjects ending in -s, -x, -sh, -ss, and -ch take singular verbs.

Example: The fox passes by. (Singular subject and verb)

Example: The boss stresses us out. (Singular subject and verb)

3. Compound subjects connected by “and” take a plural verb.

Example: The dog and the cat play together. (Plural subject and verb)

4. When the compound subject is joined by “or” or “nor,” the verb agrees with the subject closest to it.

Example: Neither the dog nor the cat likes the rain. (Singular subject and verb)

5. Singular indefinite pronouns like everyone, everybody, anyone, anyone, and somebody take singular verbs.

Example: Everybody needs to exercise. (Singular subject and verb)

6. Plural indefinite pronouns like both, few, many, and several, take plural verbs.

Example: Both of the boys are playing outside. (Plural subject and verb)

7. Collective nouns can be either singular or plural depending on the context.

Example: The team is playing well. (Singular subject and verb)

Example: The team are arguing among themselves. (Plural subject and verb)

8. Intervening phrases and clauses do not affect subject verb agreement.

Example: The girl, who is always late, arrives at the party. (Singular subject and verb)

9. When using a relative pronoun like who, which, or that, the verb agrees with the antecedent.

Example: The flowers that bloom in the spring are lovely. (Plural subject and verb)

10. When using a collective noun as an individual entity, it takes a singular verb.

Example: The entire committee is responsible for the decision. (Singular subject and verb)

11. When using a collective noun as separate individuals, it takes a plural verb.

Example: The committee members are divided on the issue. (Plural subject and verb)

12. The word “none” can be singular or plural, depending on the context.

Example: None of the cake has been eaten. (Singular subject and verb)

Example: None of the guests have arrived yet. (Plural subject and verb)

13. Nouns like mathematics, physics, news, and politics take singular verbs.

Example: Politics is a messy business. (Singular subject and verb)

14. Nouns like scissors, pants, and glasses take plural verbs.

Example: Those glasses are too big for his face. (Plural subject and verb)

15. The phrase “a number of” takes a plural verb.

Example: A number of students are absent today. (Plural subject and verb)

16. The phrase “the number of” takes a singular verb.

Example: The number of students in the class is 25. (Singular subject and verb)

17. The phrase “half of” can take either a singular or plural verb depending on the noun after it.

Example: Half of the apple is rotten. (Singular subject and verb)

Example: Half of the students are absent. (Plural subject and verb)

18. The phrase “each of” takes a singular verb.

Example: Each of the students has his or her own desk. (Singular subject and verb)

19. The phrase “everyone but” takes a plural verb.

Example: Everyone but the girl is here. (Plural subject and verb)

20. The phrase “one of” takes a singular verb.

Example: One of the boys is taller than the others. (Singular subject and verb)

21. The phrase “more than one” takes a plural verb.

Example: More than one teacher is needed for the trip. (Plural subject and verb)

22. The phrase “either…or” takes a singular verb.

Example: Either the cat or the dog is responsible for the mess. (Singular subject and verb)

23. The phrase “neither…nor” takes a singular verb.

Example: Neither the cat nor the dog likes bath time. (Singular subject and verb)

24. The phrase “not only…but also” takes a singular verb.

Example: Not only the students but also the teacher is excited for the field trip. (Singular subject and verb)

25. The phrases “all of,” “most of,” and “some of” take plural verbs.

Example: All of the students are working hard. (Plural subject and verb)

Subject verb agreement is an important component of writing clear, concise, and correct sentences. Understanding these 25 rules can help you avoid common errors and produce effective communication. Remember to check your writing for subject verb agreement to ensure that your message is conveyed accurately and professionally.

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