learnhatkey.com English grammar Subject-Verb agreement best rules examples

Subject-Verb agreement best rules examples

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Subject-verb agreement


In every sentence, its verb (Finite) should agree with its subject in number and person. In simple words when the subject is singular the helping verb should be singular and if there is no helping verb, the main verb should agree with the subject’s number and person.

Normally, we use this rule correctly but some subjects are actually singular but appear to be plural because of their spellings or s at the end like common plurals formed by adding s or es.

There are certain rules and customs and even exceptions in this regard.

Here, we will see all these rules and details carefully to avoid subject-verb agreement mistakes.

Common rules of subject-verb agreement with examples

I)The first and simplest rule is when the subject is singular, use singular helping verbs, and with plural subjects use plural helping verbs.

Here is the list of ten basic singular and plural subjects and the list of helping verbs to use with them.

1)Am/is /are-

I-am, we-are, you(singular)-are, you(plural)-are, they-are, plural noun(Children)-are.

He-is, she-is, it-is, singular noun(child)-is


I- was, we- were, you(singular)-were, you(Plural)-were, they-were, plural noun(Students)-were,

He-was, she-was, it-was, Singular noun(student)-was


I-have, we-have, you(singular)-have, you(plural)-have, they-have, plural noun(Children)-have.

He-has, she-has, it-has, singular noun(child)-has


I-had, we-had, you(singular)-had, you(plural)-had, they-had, plural noun(Children)-had.

He-had, she-had, it-had, singular noun(child)-had


I-do, we-do, you(singular)-do, you(plural)-do, they-do, plural noun(Children)-do.

He-does, she-does, it-does, singular noun(child)-does


I-shall/will, we-shall/will, you(singular)-will, you(plural)-will, they-will, plural noun(Children)-will.

He-will, she-will, it-will, singular noun(child)-will.

7)Will have-

I-shall/will have, we-shall/will have, you(singular)-will have, you(plural)-will have, they- will have, plural noun(Children)-will have.

There is no effect of the singular, plural, person of subjects on the modal auxiliary verbs like can,

could, may, might, must, should, would, ought to

II) If And is used to join two nouns that refer to the same person, thing or idea, we use a singular verb for it.


1)fruit and vegetable salad is good for health.

2)Clever and intelligent person succeeds.

3)Well known writer-director is coming to our city.

III)If the subject is the measurement or mathematical unit then use a singular verb.


1)Five days is a short time.

2)30 kilometers is not far away distance by car.

3)3+ 2 is 5.

IV)Some nouns such as tongues, pincers, shoes, chappals, trousers, pants, glasses, spectacles, pliers, socks shorts are always plurals as they always come in the pair of two.


1)My glasses are missing.

2)His shoes are torn

3)Pliers are used for electrical work.

V) if we take two or more nouns as one unit then we use a singular verb.


1)Patco trader is a famous shop in our city.

2)Aesop’s fables is my favorite storybook.

3)Heman and the masters of the universe is the first cartoon that I watched on T.V.

VI)Some specific nouns end in s and give the impression of a plural but actually, they are singular.


1)Mathematics is my favorite subject.

2)Astrophysics is one of the important subjects for study.

3)The latest news describes the pathetic situation of our planet because of pollution.

VII)Verb agrees with last noun or noun phrase if the two subjects are connected by or, either-or, neither-nor


1)John or Rita is ready for the challenge.

2)Either the Moon or Mars is our future colony.

3)Neither man nor animal is capable of changing the seasons of our earth.

VIII)We use singular verb forms for collective nouns like Committee, government, Juries, Flock, Herd, and class but sometimes we can also use plural verbs for them.


1)The government has taken a firm decision.

2)The government is ready for action.

3)The joint committee was formed for the investigation of this matter.

IX)If the subject is separated from the verb with expressions like as well as, with, along with, including, besides, don’t consider it as plural and use a singular verb.


1)John along with his friends is going to accept the challenge.

2)The prime minister along with his assistants is arriving here today.

3)Books, as well as pages, are important for our study.

X)If the noun phrase indicates part, percent or fraction as the object of the prepositional phrase of , use the verb as per the singular or plural subject noun.


1) One-fourth of the students are ready for the debate.

2) One-fourth of the class is ready for the debate.

3)Half of the village is celebrating the festival.

4)Half of the village people are celebrating the festival.

XII) if we join two or more singular nouns by and, both- and, as well as, not only but also, form plural subject and they take plural forms of the verbs.


1)John and Smith are trying hard to succeed in the field of Astronomy.

2)People as well as animals have evolved in the course of time.

3)Not only books but also games are important for the students.

XIII)Indefinite pronouns like anyone, anything, anybody, someone, something, somebody, everybody, everything, everyone, no one, nobody, nothing, is always considered as singular and we use singular verbs with them.


1)Everyone is asking for trade with us.

2)Nobody objects to his decisions.

3)Somebody has raised a very important issue.

But remember not to apply this rule for both, all, several, many, few, a few

Conclusion for subject-verb agreement

Here we have arrived at the concluding part of this important grammar part subject-verb agreement.

Simply we have to judge whether the given subject is singular or plural from the above-mentioned rules and exceptions and use verbs accordingly.

Express your views through your comments.

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