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Rules of Sub Verb Agreement

Grade 7
Aug 29, 2022

Grammar – Sub Verb Agreement

  • The agreement in form between a verb and its subject is referred to as subject-verb agreement.
  • In terms of number, a verb must agree with its subject.

Example :

  1.  Students like to dance.
  2.  He is a smart student.
  3.  They are smart students.

To make a noun plural, we add –s

Singular: girl 

Plural: girls

Singular: Cat


Plural: Cats

To make a verb plural, we take away the –s.

  1. Singular: He talks
  2. Plural: They talk
  3. Singular: She plays
  4. Plural: They play
  • Each verb in a clause or sentence must agree with its subject in number and person. Not only can a verb alter its form to represent the passage of time, but it can also change its form to reflect the number of subjects it has.

Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement-

  • When more than one subject is connected by “and,” they are considered plural; therefore, a verb form without an “s” is required.  Tom, Sam and Annie walk to the principal cabin. Cat and Dog are pet animals.
  • When the words “each” or “every” are used to modify a subject, the subject becomessingular and takes a verb form that ends in “s.”
    • Each student has come.
    • Each boy and girl walks to the store.
  • Indefinite pronouns* are usually singular and finish with “s.”
  • If “or,” “nor,” or “but” are used to combine plural subjects, the verb must agree with the subject that is nearest to it.
    • Neither the plumber nor the electrician is here yet. [Singular]
    • Not only Mike but also Daniel is coming with us. [Singular]

The verb will finish in “s” when the subject is a collective word such as family, group, committee, or class.

  •  The herd is stampeding.
  •  The class was ready for the test. 

When the subject is a time, distance, money, weight, or another unit of measurement,the verb will finish in “s” because the unit is singular.

  •  Six gallons of paint was used on the house.
  •  Five dollars is too much for a cup of coffee.

When using who, that or which, you must look to the noun these relative pronouns are referring to in order to determine whether the subject is singular and has a verb ending in “s” or is plural and has a verb without “s.”

  •  The girls who eat cake are happy. 
  •  The girl who eats cake is happy. 

 Indefinite pronouns always take a singular verb form.

  • Nothing is going to help.
  • Everybody is happy.

5-step test for subject-verb agreement

  1. Ask who or what the phrase is about—to find the topic.
  2. If the subject is singular— determine if it is singular or plural.
  3. Find the verb.
  4. Determine if the verb is singular or plural in nature.
  5. They agree if the subject and verb are both singular or plural. If they don’t agree, make the necessary changes.


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