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Noun Verb Agreement

Sep 2, 2022
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Agreement is important to form proper sentences. 

Nouns must agree with their verbs. 

A singular noun needs a singular verb and a plural noun needs a plural verb. 

For example:

  • Singular – The bird flies. 
  • Plural – The birds fly. 

Nouns ending with –s are often plural whereas verbs ending in –s are always singular. 

parallel

For example:

  • Chairs is a plural noun but sits is a singular verb. 

Rules 

1. A verb must agree with its noun (the subject of the sentence). 

For example:

  • The flower blooms. (Singular noun and verb) 
  • The flowers bloom. (Plural noun and verb) 

2. If two or more singular nouns are joined by “and”, the verb is plural. 

For example:

parallel
  • William and Nick are students. 

3. If two singular nouns are joined by and and refer to the same person or thing, then its verb is singular. 

For example:

  • My best friend and pet is Fluffy. 

4. If the subject consists of two nouns joined by “with” or “as well as”, then its verb agrees with the first noun. 

For example:

  • My father, with his brother, is doing a business. 

5. If two or more singular nouns are connected by “or” or “nor”, the verb is singular. 

For example:

  • Wilma or Fred cleans the room everyday. 

6. Uncountable nouns take singular verb forms. 

For example:

  • Water is precious. 

7. Collective nouns (group, family, team etc.) refer to more than one individual but they are considered singular and use singular verbs. 

For example:

  • The committee has the power to take decisions. 

8. In sentences beginning with “there”, the subject (noun) follows the verb. So the verb will agree with the subject that follows it. 

For example:

  • There are many puppies in the house. 

9. Some countable nouns have only plural forms and they use plural verbs (goods, surroundings, earnings, proceeds). 

For example:

  • All the proceeds from the concert go to the poor. 

10. When a sentence has  compound subject which consists of a plural noun and singular noun, the verb agrees with the part of the subject that is closest to it. 

For example:

  • John and his friends have planned a trip to Las Vegas. 

11. Sentences with words such as “each,” “each one,” “either,” “neither,” “anyone,” “everyone,” “everybody,” “anybody,” “everybody,” “nobody,” “somebody,” “someone,” “no one” require singular verbs. 

For example:

  • Neither Ben nor James is attending the function. 

12. In case of nouns like scissors, pants, shorts, tweezers, binoculars, glasses etc. (which have two parts), plural verbs are used unless they are preceded by “a pair of”. 

For example:

  • My glasses have broken. 
  • The new pair of jeans is torn. 

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