Subject and Verb Agreement
RULE #1: Agreement in Number
A verb must agree with its subject in number. Number is always about Singular & Plural A singular subject goes with a singular verb. Singular subjects will not end in –s but their verbs will. Remember the phrase “-s on the verb makes it singular”. Example #1. My dog walks outside every day. A plural subject goes with a plural verb. Plural subjects will end in –s but their verbs will not. Example #2. Their dogs walk outside every day.
RULE #2: Compound Subjects
A compound subject means a sentence that has two or more subjects. A compound subject whose parts are joined by and usually takes a plural verb. Example #3: George and Louise paint the deck. A compound subject whose parts are joined by or or nor, the verb should agree with the word closest to the verb. Example #4: Either ticket stubs or a photo completes your collage. Either a photo or ticket stubs complete your collage.
ALWAYS cross out prepositional phrases in the sentences.
REMEMBER!!!! ALWAYS cross out prepositional phrases in the sentences. You don’t want to get the subject and the object of the preposition confused. Example: The members of the board vote on Tuesday. The shells on the sidewalk shine brightly.
RULE #3: Problem Subjects
Subjects can often be placed in unusual positions: in the form of a question after a sentence beginning with here or there after a sentence that begins with an adjective, adverb, or phrase. To determine whether you should use singular or plural, reorder the sentence. - Example: There (was, were) a tiny rabbit. Reorder: A tiny rabbit (was, were) there. Example: Here (is, are) the papers. Reorder: The papers (is, are) here. Example: Behind the house (is, are) my garden. Reorder: My garden (is, are) behind the house.
Problem Subjects, continued
Some nouns end in –s or –ics look plural but actually refer to singular concepts. Examples include measles, politics, mechanics, mumps, news, mathematics, and economics. When these words are used as subjects, use a singular verb. Example: Politics is a hot issue right now.
RULE #4: Indefinite Pronouns
Singular Plural Singular or Plural Everyone, Everything, Everybody No one, Nothing, Nobody Someone, Something, Somebody Anyone, Anything, Anybody Either, Neither, Each, One Both Few Many Several All Any Most None Some
Indefinite Pronouns, continued
Singular indefinite pronouns take singular verbs. Example: Neither of the shirts fits. Plural indefinite pronouns take plural verbs. Example: Both of the apples are bruised. Singular or Plural: look at the noun closest to the verb (the object of the preposition). Example: Most of the pudding is gone. All of the mobiles move in the breeze.
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