2 Rules for subject-verb agreement A phrase or clause between subject and verb does not change the number of the subject.Ex: The women were bored. The women who went to the meeting were bored.The women were bored, not the meeting.Ex: The can sits on the shelf. The can of green beans sits on the shelf.The can sits on the shelf, not the green beans.
3 Rules for subject-verb agreement 2. Indefinite Pronouns as subjects:Singular indefinite pronoun subjects take singular verbs.Singular indefinite pronouns include:each either neithernone no one nobodynothing anyone anybodyanything someone somebodysomething everyone everybodyeverythingEx: Each worker does a good job.
4 Rules for subject-verb agreement Plural indefinite pronouns take plural verbsPlural indefinite pronouns include:both manyfew severalEx: Both workers do a good job.Some indefinite pronouns may be either singular or plural: with uncountable, use singular; with countable, use plural.These pronouns include:some any none all mostEx: Some of the sugar is on the floor. (uncountable)Ex: Some of the marbles are on the floor. (countable)
5 Rules for subject-verb agreement Compound Subjects:Joined by and are ALWAYS plural:Ex: A pencil and an eraser make writing easier.Joined by or/nor – the verb agrees with the subject CLOSEST to it:Ex: Neither the director nor the actors are following the lines closely.
6 Rules for subject-verb agreement Collective Nouns may be singular or plural, depending on the meaning.Collective nouns include such words as:group crowd Senatejury teamEx: The jury has awarded custody to the grandmother.The jury is acting as one unit; therefore it is singular. Jury – singular; has – singular.Ex: The jury (members) have been arguing for five days.The jury members are acting as twelve individuals; therefore the verb is plural.
7 What is a pronoun?A pronoun is a word that stands in the place of a noun.A word can refer to an earlier noun or pronoun in the sentence.Ex: President Lincoln delivered Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in 1863.We do not talk or write this way. Automatically, we replace the noun Lincoln's with a pronoun. More naturally, we say:President Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address inThe pronoun his refers to President Lincoln.
8 What is an antecedent?In the previous example, the pronoun his is called the REFERENT because it "refers back.“It refers back to President Lincoln, the ANTECEDENT. An antecedent is a word for which a pronoun stands. (ante = "before")The pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number.
9 Pronoun-antecedent agreement Rule: A singular pronoun must replace a singular noun; a plural pronoun must replace a plural nounThus, the mechanics of the sentence above look like this:
11 Pronoun-antecedent agreement A phrase or clause between the subject and verb does not change the number of the antecedent.Ex: The can of green beans sits on its shelf. (The can sits on its shelf.)Singular indefinite pronoun antecedents take singular pronoun referents.Ex: Each of the workers does a good job making a profit with his or her projects.Plural indefinite pronoun antecedents require plural referents.Ex: Both of the workers do a good job making a profit with their projects.
12 Pronoun-antecedent agreement Remember those pronouns that could take either singular OR plural verbs? (some, any none, all, most)If they are modified by a prepositional phrase, they may be either singular or plural. When the object of the phrase is uncountable use a singular referent pronoun.Ex: Some of the sugar fell out of its bag.When the object of the phrase is countable, use a plural referent pronoun:Ex: Some of the marbles fell out of their bag.
13 Pronoun-antecedent agreement Compound Subjects:Joined by and always take a plural referent:Ex: Mark and Tim did their presentation.Joined by or/nor – the referent pronoun agrees with the antecedent closer to the pronoun:Ex: Neither the director nor the actors did their jobs.Ex: Neither the actors nor the director did his or her job.
14 Pronoun-antecedent agreement Collective Nouns (group, jury, crowd, team, etc.) may be singular or plural, depending on meaning.Ex:The jury read its verdict.In this example, the jury is acting as one unit; therefore, the referent pronoun is singular.Ex: The jury (members) gave their individual opinions.The jury members are acting as twelve individuals; therefore the verb is plural.
15 Pronoun-antecedent agreement Every or Many a before a noun or a series of nouns requires a singular referent.Ex: Every cow, pig, and sheep had lost its life in the fire.Ex: Many a girl wishes she could dance like Lady Gaga.The number of vs. A number of before a subject:The number of is singular.Ex: The number of volunteers increases its ranks daily.A number of is plural.Ex: A number of volunteers are offering their help.
16 Let’s practice!Emily and Greg (come) (comes) to my house for lunch every Friday.There (is) (are) time to watch the movie.My friends who are in the band (want) (wants) me to play a musical instrument.My dad or my brothers (is) (are) coming with me to the baseball game.Everyone (need) (needs) time to relax.That bag of grapes (look) (looks) moldy.The HCHS girls’ track team (hopes) (hope) to win the state tournament again next year.Some of the books on the shelf (is) (are) dusty.
17 Let’s practice!During early rehearsals, an actor may forget (his or her) (their) lines.Some of the money fell out of (its) (their) bag during the robbery.A person needs to see (his or her) (their) dentist twice a year.The committee put (its) (their) signature/s on the document.If any one of the sisters needs a ride, (she) (they) can call me.When someone has been drinking, (he or she) (they) may get into an accident.
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