14 Aug

മത്സരത്തിലെഇംഗ്ലീഷ് 11

മത്സരത്തിലെഇംഗ്ലീഷ് 11

Subject – Verb agreement


ചൂര്യയി ചന്ദ്രന്‍

A singular subject takes the verb in singular. A plural subject takes the verb in plural.

  1. Molly goes to school
  2. Boban and Molly go to school
  3. The list of students is long

Note: (1) A plural verb is required after you even when it refers to one person.

You is right (incorrect)

You are right (correct)

I (I reason)

You (II reason)

Both are plurals

Though singular numbers

Note: (2) In simple present tense, base form of the verb is plural and – s form is singular

  1. She writes 2) They write

3     Raghu reads   4) theyread

An accountable noun, though plural in sense, takes a verb in singular.

[Hair, advice, issue, scenery, luggage, mischief, bread, abuse, machinery, furniture, land, business, poetryetc]

  1. Her hairis untidy
  2. My luggageis very light
  3. This machinery is very old
  4. Is there any information in this regard?
  5. His hair has turned grey now
  6. The scenery of Oottyis beautiful
  7. The grass grows tall

Note: A plural sense is expressed using some additions like

Many pieces of advice

Many items of furniture

Many plots of land

3 .If the two subjects are joined by and, the verb will be plural


  • Rajuand Ravi areneighbours
  • LuttappyandDakiniare one favorite characters
  • You and he are birds of the same feather
  • You, he and I are friends of the same feather


  • The order of pronouns in the subject is II Reason + III Reason and last I Reason ……………
  1. If a subject consisting of two singular nouns connected by and refers to same person or thing, a singular verb is used


  1. Maybest friendand advisor as changed his mind (my best friend and advisor is same person )
  2. The poet and playwright was present on occasion
  3. Collector and district magistrate is on leave

Note: if two persons had been intended, sentences should have been:

  1. Maybest friend andthe advisor  have changed their mind
  2. The poet and the playwright were present on the occasion
  3. The Collector and the District Magistrate are on leave


  1. If two subjects together express one idea, the verb may be in the singular
  • Bread and butter is his favourite food
  • Soup and salad is too light a lunch
  • “Early to bed and early to rise” makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise
  • “Slow and steady” wins the race
  • “Time and tide” waits for no man
  • The horse and carriage is at the door
  • Age and experience brings wisdom to man
  1. Words like with, together with, along with, besides, as well as, including, in additionto do not affect the members of the verb. If the subject is singular, a singular verb is required; if plural, a plural verb.
  • My teacher, with her sisters, is binding books
  • The decoration of the room, including the carpets and furniture, is most pleasing
  • The doctor with his assistants is arriving


  1. If the subject is made up of both singular and plural words connected by or, nor, either ….. or, neither… nor, not only… but also etc., the verb agrees with the nearer subject
  • Neither he nor his friends are reading
  • Neither the quality nor the prices have changed
  • Not only the headmaster but also the teachers are in favour of the expansion
  • Either he or I am mistaken
  • Not only the students but also the P.T.A is against the new scheme
  • Then neither the radio nor the television was discovered
  • He or his brothers have collected them

  1. Nouns that are plural in form but singular in meaning such as news, measles, mumps, physics, electronics, tactics And so on, usually take singular verbs
  • Measles is among the diseases that are curable
  • News spreads faster that was before
  • Athletics is required of every student
  • The wages of sin is death

(wages = punishment)

  • Mathematics is hisfavourite subject

Note: Physics, economics, electronics etc. refers to an organized body of knowledge. Then they are considered as singular

Special case:

Athletics provide good recreation

(Here, it is plural. Items of athletics)


  1. If there or it is used as introductory subject, then the verb used after it is related to the noun used after the verb.
  • There is a boy

There = a boy

  • There are two boys

There = two boys

Note:A linking verb usually agrees with its subject, not with its complement.

  • He is one of the intelligent boys


  1. Any noun qualified by every or each must be followed by a singular verb
  • Every book and every journal in the library is in a bad shape
  • Each boy is industrious
  • Every man and woman in a family is responsible for the upbringing of a child


Special case:

If a parenthetical each follows a plural noun or pronoun, the verb should be plural

  • The each have their own problems
  • The pupils each have to take a test.

Note: Plural Noun + each takes a plural verb

  1. If the subject is the member of, singular verb is used
  • The number of students is very smell
  • The member of boys in this batch is fifteen
  • The number of bottles is very small
  • The number of absentees is increasing


  1. A great many is always followed by a plural verb
  • A great many students have been declared successful


  1. If the subject is a number of, plural verb is used
  • A number of books are sold at 50% discount
  • A number of students were absent

  1. Indefinite pronouns such as someone, somebody, each, nobody, anyone, anybody, one, no one, everyone, anything, everybody, either, neither always take a singular verb
  • Everyone is required to clear their dues
  • Nobody knows the trouble I have faced
  • Each student must do his/her work
  • Each employ is responsible for clearing his desk in the evening
  • Each of my friends calls me once a week
  • Anybody can do it if he/she tries
  • Nothing happens there
  • Either of the two boys was lying
  • Neither of these two blocks is well constructed
  • Something is better than nothing


  1. Indefinite pronouns which indicate more than one (several, a few, both, many) always take plural verb
  2. Both of them require your valuable help


  1. Collective nouns such asboard, jury, public, team, cabinet, committee, orchestra, company, council, army, society are used both as singular and plural depending on the meaning.
  2. When the group acts as a unit, it is used as singular
  3. When the members of the group are thought of as acting separately, this verb should be plural
  • The jury has given its verdict
  • The jury were divided in this case
  • The team has not come yet
  • The team are divided in their opinion about playing on Sundays
  • The cabinet are divided on the liquor issue
  • The board of directors meets twice a month
  • The majority has made its decision
  • The audience were shouting and cheering

(The group does not act as one body but as different individuals)

  • The ministry are dividedamongst themselves on this reform
  • The committee were not in agreement on the action to be taken


  1. Some nouns are singular in form, but they are used as plural nouns and always take a plural verb.


  • There are twenty six alphabets in English
  • The cattle are gazing near the canal
  • This poultry are ready for used
  • The police have solved the problem
  • These verminare causing a lot of trouble
  • Why do these people quarrel

  1. Some nouns are always used in a plural form and always take a plural verb.

Trousers/scissors/spectacles/stockings/shorts/measles/goods/alms/premises/thanks/tidings/annals /chattels/surroundings/belongings/clothes/earrings/riches

  • Riches have wings
  • Your glasses are very nice
  • The scissors are blunt
  • The trousers are torn
  • The goods are being dispatched
  • The proceeds of the exhibition are to be given to the Covid fund

Special case:

In case these nouns are used with a pair of, they are singular and take singular verbs.

  • The pair of trousers is torn
  • The pair of scissors is blunt
  1. Some nouns in the plural form represent an amount, a fraction or an element of time. These nouns are considered singular and hence take singular verbs.
  • Ten minutes is enough to finish it
  • One fourth of the land isrocky


  1. When adjectives such as much, less, little and more are used as nouns, they must have a singular verb
  2. Less than fifty students is required


  1. Use either or neither when referring to one out of two
  • Neither of the two friends has been selected
  • Neither of the men was strong

(Neither is the real subject)


  1. Any, none, no one are used when referring to one out of more than two
  • Any one of the boys can go and fetch it
  • None of them has passed
  1. Ensure the verb agrees with the real subject and not with an intervening plural object of a proposition.
  • A variety of objects charms the eye.

(The real subject is variety)

  • The list of students is long

(The real subject is list)

  • The box of his pencils is missing

(The real subject is box)

  • The quality of the mangoes is not good

(The real subject is quality)

  • The length of railway tracks is enormous
  • The collection of stamps was very large
  • Neither of the men was strong

  1. Titles and names of plural form take a singular verb when they refer to one thing.
  • “Ali Baba and Forty Thieves” is an interesting book
  • “The Two Faces of Indira Gandhi” is a best seller
  • “Great Expectations” is written by Charles Dickens


  1. When nouns expressing periods of time, amount of money or quantities are considered as a single unit, singular verbs are use
  • Two houris too short to assess his character
  • Two metersis ample for a shirt
  • 900 rupees seems too much for the job
  • Twenty miles is a long distance to walk
  • Two thousand rupeesis a handsome amount


  1. When a plural noun follows the following words or phrases, we use a plural verb.

A lot of, a group of, a number of, some of, all, all of, enough, lots of, most, most of, a great deal of, plenty of, much of, many of, heaps of, remainder of

  • A number of our staff are on leave
  • A large number of students were affected
  • All men are mortal
  • A number of mangoes are rotten
  • Lots of books were destroyed by rats
  • Lots of sugar was wasted

(Sugar – uncountable noun)

Special case (A):

The number has a singular meaning and takes a singular verb.

  • The number of committee members is eleven
  • The number of cases is increasing

Special case (B):

A lot of, a great deal of, most of + uncountable noun take a singular verb.

  • A lot of water was wasted
  • A lot of water has overflowed
  • Most of the money was spoilt
  • Most of the milk was impure
  1. When a plural noun is placed with a real subject with the help of one of/each of/either of/neither of/none of, verb must be singular not plural.
  • One of the boys was arrested
  • Each of the girls is brave
  • Either of the books is bound
  • neither of the books was interesting


After none, singular or plural is used.

None of them have reposted this case (correct)

None of them has reposted this case (correct)


  1. When the subject of the verb is a relative pronoun, care should be taken to see that the verb agrees in number and person with the antecedent of the relative pronoun.
  • The boy, who has left the place, is my friend.

Who: relative pronoun

Its antecedent: the boy

Who = the boy

Who has left = the boy has left

  • These are the boys, who are my friends.

Relative pronoun = who

Antecedent of who – boys

Who stands for the boys

The boys + are = who + are

  • One of the students, who were selected, is an industrious boy

Who = students

  1. Many, a great many, a good many, etc. are followed by a plural noun and a plural verb.
  • A great many boys were present
  • Too many M.L.As desert him
  • Too many cooks spoil the broth
  • Many were invited, but a few have attended


Many a + a singular noun takes a singular verb

  • Many an admirer has praised him
  1. Expressions like me half of, two thirds of, a part of, a majority of, etc. take a singular verb is a singular follows ‘of
  • Two thirds of the wall is painted
  • A majority of two lakh indicates his popularity

Note: If plural noun follows ‘of’, plural verb is used.

  • One third of the buildings are to be painted
  • Part of the walls are to be repaired
  • Majority of our peasants are living in miserable conditions


  1. The phrase one or two is plural.
  • One or two rattles is this packet are broken
  • One or two mangoes in this basket are rotten
  • One or two boys have won the race
  1. More than one’ is counted as singular.
  • More than one attempt has been made to patch up their quarrel
  • More than one room is vacant
  • More than one boy was absent

Special case:

“more + a plural noun + than one” is followed by a plural verb.

  • More teachers than one are late
  • More pencils than one have been chosen
  • More Covid-19 patients than one were tested
  1. Half, some, all are singular with uncountable nouns and plural with countable nouns.
  • Half the rice has been used up

(rice – uncountable noun)

  • Half the boys were absent

(boys – countable noun)

  • All the milk has turned sour

(milk – uncountable noun)

  1. Sports news considers names of teams, countries etc as plural
  2. India defeat Australia by 100 runs
  3. Spain dash Pakistan hopes
  4. The subject many a + a plural noun is always followed by the plural verb.
  • Many of them are old
  • A great many presidents have attended the meeting
  • Many were invited, but a few have attended

Special case:

Many a + a singular noun is followed by the singular verb

  • Many an admirer has praised him
  1. A pair of, a group of, a flock of take a singular verb.
  • A pair of shoes is missing
  • A group of men is waiting outside the door
  • A flock of birds is moving towards the west


  1. Heaps and lots are singular with uncountable nouns and plural with countable nouns.
  • Lots of coconuts were collected (coconuts: countable noun)
  • Lots of paper was used (paper: uncountable noun)
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