Main Rules of Subject Verb Agreement

As a writer, it`s important to have a good understanding of subject-verb agreement, as this is one of the most basic and fundamental rules of grammar. Subject-verb agreement refers to the relationship between the subject of a sentence and the verb that follows it. In a sentence, the subject is the one performing the action, while the verb is the action being performed. By following the main rules of subject-verb agreement, you can ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and easy to understand. Here are the most important rules to remember:

1. A singular subject takes a singular verb, while a plural subject takes a plural verb.

Example:

The cat (singular subject) is sleeping.

The cats (plural subject) are sleeping.

2. When a subject is compound (i.e. two or more subjects joined by “and”), it takes a plural verb.

Example:

Mary and John (compound subject) are going to the party.

3. When a subject is compound, but the subjects are acting as a single unit, it takes a singular verb.

Example:

Peanut butter and jelly (compound subject acting as a single unit) is my favorite sandwich.

4. When “either/or” or “neither/nor” are used, the verb should agree with the subject closest to it.

Example:

Neither the cat nor the dog is hungry.

5. When “none” is used, the verb should agree with the word it refers to. If “none” refers to a singular noun, use a singular verb. If it refers to a plural noun, use a plural verb.

Example:

None of the apples (plural noun) were eaten.

None of the apple (singular noun) was eaten.

6. When a collective noun refers to a group acting as a single unit, use a singular verb. When a collective noun refers to individuals acting separately, use a plural verb.

Example:

The team (collective noun acting as a single unit) is working on the project.

The team (collective noun referring to individuals) are arguing with each other.

By following these main rules of subject-verb agreement, you can improve the clarity and correctness of your writing. Remember to proofread your writing carefully to ensure that you have followed these rules accurately, and consider using a grammar checker tool to catch any errors you may have missed. With practice, subject-verb agreement can become second nature, allowing you to focus on expressing your ideas effectively.