GRAMMAR NOTES: ENGLISH I SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT RULES SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT Rule 1: BASIC RULE: • A verb must agree with its ____________________ in number and in person. In other words, if the subject is __________________ (only one) , the verb should be singular, and if the subject is _________________ (more than one), the verb should be plural. EXAMPLES: Incorrect Example: The boy are going to the movies. Correct Example: The boy IS going to the movies. Subject and Verb Rule 2: Separated by Words RULE: When words come between the ________________ and the _______________, a subject/verb agreement error can occur. It is important to remember that an object of a _____________________________ is never the subject of the sentence. Examples of Rule 2: Incorrect Example: The two main goals of my life is to go to college and get a good job. Correct Example: The two main goals of my life are to go to college and get a good job. Notes about Subject-Verb Agreement Singular = One Plural = More than one For the most part (not always though), if the subject is SINGULAR, then the verb will end with an “S.” If the subject is PLURAL, then the verb WILL NOT end with an “S.” Examples: The cat meows. (singular subject) The cats meow. (plural subject) There are exceptions to this rule. Keep reading to learn more. RULE 3: PLURAL SUBJECTS • RULE: If the sentences has two or more subjects joined by AND, then the verb is almost always _____________________________. Incorrect: My mother and father is going to the movies. Correct: My mother and father are going to the movies. RULE 4: Subjects Joined by Or or Nor RULE: If a subject has two or more parts joined by the words “or” or “nor,” the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is _________________________ to the verb. Incorrect: Neither the president nor the vice president are aware of the changes in the plan. Correct: Neither the president nor the vice president is aware of the changes in the plan. More Examples of Rule 4: INCORRECT: Either my sisters or my mother ENJOY dancing. In the above sentence, there are two subjects (my sisters and my mother). However, these two subjects are joined with the conjunction “OR.” This means that both subjects don’t enjoy dancing. Only one of the subjects enjoys dancing (my sisters OR my mother). To determine if the verb is singular or plural, first identify the verb. The verb is ENJOY. Now, look at the subject that is NEAREST to the verb. “MOTHER” is nearest to the verb. Since “MOTHER” is singular, then the verb needs to be singular. Therefore, “ENJOY” should be changed to ‘ENJOYS.” CORRECT: Either my sisters or my mother ENJOYS dancing. NOTE: THIS RULE ONLY APPLIES WHEN YOU HAVE TWO OR MORE SUBJECTS JOINED WITH “OR” OR “NOR.” RULE 5: • The pronouns each, everyone, every one, everybody, anyone, anybody, someone, and somebody are singular and require singular verbs. Do not be misled by what follows the word “of.” Examples: • Each of the girls sings well. • Every one of the cakes is gone. NOTE: Everyone is one word when it means everybody. Every one is two words when the meaning is each one. RULE 6: Use a singular verb with sums of money or periods of time. Examples: * Ten dollars is a high price to pay. * Five years is the maximum sentence for that offense. RULE 7: • Sometimes the subject is separated from the verb by words such as along with, as well as, besides, or not. Ignore these expressions when determining whether to use a singular or plural verb. Examples: * The politician, along with the newsmen, is expected shortly. * Excitement, as well as nervousness, is the cause of her shaking. A verb must agree with its subject in _____________________and PERSON _____________________________. NUMBER When words come between the subject and the verb, a subject/verb agreement error can occur. It is important to remember that an PREPOSITION object of a ___________________________ is never the subject of the sentence. The two main goals of my life are to go to college and get a good job. In the sentence above, what is the SUBECT of the sentence? GOALS If a subject has two or more parts connected by the conjunction “and,” the subject is almost always PLURAL _________________________. If the parts of the subject refer to the same person or thing, however, the subject should be treated as SINGULAR _______________________. If a subject has two or more parts joined by “or” or “nor,” the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is NEAREST / CLOSEST _______________________ to the verb. The computer that I bought last week (is are) working much better than my old computer. Michael Jordan, who is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, (own owns) a house in Wilmington, N.C. The main problem with horror movies (is are) the excessive violence. English and history (is are) my two favorite subjects. Neither the students nor the teacher (is are) aware that there will be a fire drill today. Neither the dog nor the kitten (is are) willing to eat the leftover meatloaf. The football team (is are) going to win the championship game.