The University of Sydney
The Write Site
Home Glossary Site map Help
Module 1: Grammar Module 2: Sources Module 3: Structure
Home » Module 1 Unit 3: Subject verb agreement » Summary: Subject verb agreement - page 1/1
Unit 1: Sentence fragmentsUnit 2: Run-on sentences Unit 3: Subject-verb agreementUnit 4: TensesUnit 5: PassiveUnit 6: ApostrophesUnit 7: Articles
 

Summary: Subject-verb agreement

print page print

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

If there is more than one noun/pronoun in the subject, you need to work out which one the verb refers to.
This is the head noun and the verb must agree with it. It will not always be the noun or pronoun directly in front of the verb.

  • If two nouns are joined by and you use a plural verb.
  • If two nouns are joined by or or nor, you generally use a singular verb.

 

  • Words like each, every and neither take singular verbs.
  • Words like several, many and few take plural verbs.
  • Words like all, most, any and some take a singular verb with non-count nouns, but a plural verb with plural nouns.

Collective nouns like family, community and majority take a singular verb if their focus is on the whole entity. However, they take a plural verb if the focus is on individual members of the entity.

Some words appear to be plural but are actually singular, so they take a singular verb (e.g. politics, athletics, news).

You cannot make plurals out of some commonly used academic words (e.g. evidence, information).

You have completed Module 1, Unit 3: Subject-verb agreement.

Choose another unit, or have a break and return to The WriteSite later.

  Top