9th Literature Language Practice # 4 Name: ___________________________________________ SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT A singular subject must have a singular verb. A plural subject must have a plural verb. Hint: A singular subject does not end in s; a singular verb does end in s. (An actor performs alone.) A plural subject ends in s; a plural verb does not end in s. (Actors perform daily.) Rules Examples Compound Subjects Compound subjects joined by and are generally plural Cowboys and miners sit side-by-side at the and need a plural verb; whereas, compound subjects performances. acting as a single unit require singular verbs. Fish and chips is served in the hotel restaurant. Two or more singular subjects joined by or or nor Either Hamlet or Macbeth is being performed tonight. require a singular verb. Tents or hotel hallways take the place of theaters from Two or more plural subjects joined by or or nor require time to time. a plural verb. Neither drought not storms keep audiences from the If singular subjects are joined by or or nor to plural performances. subjects, the subject closest to the verb determines agreement. Confusing Subjects Sometimes a subject can follow a verb or be separated There is a new name for Ralston, New Mexico. from it. Verbs must agree with subjects even when The reviews of the play are positive. words come between them. Ten miles is not far to travel to see a play. Some subjects (such as length or distance) are usually singular even though they may sound plural. Collective Nouns Collective nouns require a singular verb when the The cast appreciates the gold dust tossed onto the group named acts as a single unit. stage. Collective nouns need a plural verb when the group Statistics is not a required course for theater majors. acts as individuals. The audience arrive at the theater at different times. These statistics show that people prefer musicals to dramas. Indefinite Pronouns Indefinite pronouns such as each, anyone, and Everybody in Shakespearean plays finds relief from everybody are always singular. hard work in the mines. Both, many, few, and several are always plural. Several of those towns name streets after actors. All, any, some, enough, most, and none can be singular Most of the town shows up each night or plural depending on the words to which they refer. Most of the towns welcome the performers. Amounts Percentages or fractions are singular when they act as a Two-thirds of the seats are in the mezzanine. unit and plural when they act as many parts. Try it: Choose the verb that agrees with the subject 1. An opera house, like those in Tombstone, Leadville, and other towns, still (stand, stands) today. 2. Pool tables or even tree stumps (make, makes) serviceable stages. 3. Several (play, plays) a role in determining where to stage a play. 4. (Do, Does) the arrival of the troupe cause excitement in the town? 5. Five years (is, are) a long time to be on the road. Identify the sentence error. If an underlined word or phrase contains a grammatical error, choose the part that must be changed to correct the sentence. 6. All of the members (A) of the cast has (B) to put (C) on their (D) own costumes. No error. (E) 7. According to(A) Hume, it is not logic and reasoning that(B) determine(C) our actions, but(D) emotion. No error. (E) 8. In such(A) areas as sports, ranking of individual performance is(B) relatively well accepted since(C) the parameters on which the rating are(D) based are generally objective. No error. (E) 9. Neither Bradley, nor more(A) recent critics who have written(B) on Shakespeare's tragedies, has(C) been able to give a convincing explanation for the timing of(D) events in Othello. No error. (E) 10. Either of the solutions you have(A) proposed are(B) acceptable to the union, whose(C) members are willing(D) to compromise. No error. (E) 11. Television viewers claim that(A) the number of scenes depicting(B) alcohol consumption have(C) increased dramatically over(D) the last decade. No error. (E) 12. My grandmother's legacy is(A) substantial, especially(B) if the value of the rare stamps are(C) taken into(D) consideration. No error. (E) 13. Neither of the answers provided in the memorandum(A) address(B) my concerns about(C) the validity of(D) the procedure. No error. (E) 14. Neither of the artists we have commissioned(A) to execute the mural are(B) able to start(C) work before(D) September. No error. (E) 15. Professor Chandra's(A) pioneering work on(B) rainwater harvesting and recharging of groundwater in drought prone areas have been(C) drawing media attention(D). No error. (E) 16. The series of letters that Margaret wrote to her father contains(A) a valuable commentary on(B) the prevailing social conditions and attitudes that led to her(C) leaving home at such(D) a young age. No error. (E) Improve the sentence. Select the answer choice that best expresses the meaning of the underlined portion of the original sentence. 17. The town council have decided to build a school house in town. a. The town council have decided to build a school house in town. b. The town council has decided to build a school house in town. c. The town council have not decided to build a school house in town. d. The town councils has decided to build a school house in town. e. The town’s council have decided to build a school house in town. 18. In the fine print at the end of the document lies the clauses that make us liable for any expenses that result from civil unrest. A. lies the clauses that make us liable for any expenses that B. lies the clauses that make us liable for any expenses which C. lies the clause that make us liable for any expenses that D. lie the clauses that makes us liable for any expenses which E. lie the clauses that make us liable for any expenses that 19. Among the many reasons for his defeat in the election was his arrogant assumption that his constituents were incapable of understanding economic conditions, and his unwarranted attack on his chief opponent. A. was his arrogant assumption that his constituents were incapable of understanding economic conditions B. were his arrogant assumption that his constituents were incapable of understanding economic conditions C. were his arrogant assumptions that his constituents were incapable of understanding economical conditions D. were his arrogant assumption that his constituents would be incapable of understanding economics E. was the arrogant assumption that his constituents was incapable of understanding economic conditions 20. Pollution and degradation of the environment is, according to the commission's report, a matter of universal concern. A. is, according to the commission's report, a matter of universal concern. B. is, according to the report by the commission, a matter of universal concern. C. is, according to the report of the commission, matters of universal concern. D. are, according to the commission's report, universally a matter of concern. E. are, according to the commission's report, a matter of universal concern. In each of the following exercises, (1) use at least one current vocabulary word per sentence; (2) relate each sentence to our current unit of study; (3) use proper punctuation. 21. Write a sentence in which compound subjects are joined by and. 22. Write a sentence in which one plural subject and one singular subject are joined by or. 23. Write a complex sentence in which the subject is separated from the verb by a dependent clause. 24. Write a compound-complex sentence that uses a collective noun and its correct verb. 25. Write a simple sentence that uses an amount as the subject.