What are the different rules in subject verb agreement? Explain them briefly.First correct answer will recieve a thumbs up.

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It is important to identify a subject and use the correct verb with it.

A Subject can be Singular.

e.g., a book, a paper, a box, a pencil, a town, etc.

A Subject can be Plural.

e.g., villages, halls, books, towns, etc.

Uncountable e.g., furniture, machinery, coffee, coal, sugar, luggage, team, etc.

Pick out the Countable Singular (CS), Countable Plural (CP) or Uncountable (UC) and write the symbols under each grid.

Look at the following sentences :

  S V

1. The bag is on the table.

(Bag is singular. Hence, we use singular verb is)

  S     V

2. Politicians are dishonest.

(Politicians, the Subject, is plural and hence, the plural verb are is used)

    S  V

3. Our cooks are preparing pudding.

(The Subject cooks is plural, hence the plural verb are)

            S  V

4. The cricket team from Australia is arriving this evening.

(The subject team is singular, and hence we use the singular verb is)

      S     V

5. The students have an exam today.

(The subject students is plural, hence the verb is plural have)

  S  V

6. The girl has a pencil.

(The subject the girl is singular, hence the verb is singular has)

Some subjects are countable singular, countable plural or simply uncountable.

Examples of countable singular - person, tooth, book, table, knife, key, goose, mouse, ox, etc.

Examples of countable plural - feet, teeth, mice, geese, hands, circles, boxes, men, oxen, etc.

Example of uncountables - furniture, news, machinery, coffee, tea, coal, salt, sugar, milk, rice, etc.

Remember the Following:


Look at these sentences:

1. Politics is not meant for the gentlemen, nowadays.

2. Tuberculosis is a deadly disease.

Observe the following subjects, diseases and games / sports. All of them look like plurals (i.e. they end in s). But they are, in fact, singular nouns.

Subject Diseases Games/Sports
Dramatics Aerobics Gymnastics Economics Statistics Electronics Physics Mumps Measles Tuberculosis Rickets Diabetes spondylitis Cards Darts Athletic Skittles Billiards tennis


Look at the following nouns, which refer to one subject, yet take on the plural verb:













Look at these Sentences:

Those shears are mine.

My binoculars are lost.

Pliers are used as a gripping tool.

The trousers have holes in them.

Tongs have to be used for picking up hot things.

Scissors are to be handled carefully.

Black socks are not allowed in school.

All the nouns in the above sentences take the plural verb.

Look at the Following Two Sentences. Which One is Correct?

a) The Government are actively pursuing Veerappan.

b) The Government is doing its best to control prices of commodities.

Both are correct.

In the first sentence the Government refers to a collection of people.

In sentence two, government refers to a single unit. e.g., The Indian Government.

Here are some words that are usually plural:










These nouns are usually used with both plural and singular verbs.If u use plurals,you will always be correct,but if you use a singular noun,you may be wrong.So to be safe,use the plurals.

Use Plural Verbs with these Nouns

Look at these questions:

1. Were the audience satisfied with Hrithik's performance?

2. Have the government got an inkling of how to remove unemployment from our country?

3. Have the media got any proof of the involvement of the underworld in the recent riots?

4. Were the public happy with the Minister?

5. Were the council happy with the king's decision?

6. Are the staff happy with the hike in salary?

(All the verbs here are plural - were, have, are)

Observe Some of the Other Rules

Rule I.

If two singular nouns refer to the same person or thing, the verb must be singular; as

1. My friend and philosopher has come.

2. A great administrator and politician is dead.

Rule II.

If the singular subjects are preceded by each or every the verb is usually singular.


Every boy and girl was ready.

Each day and each hour brings its duty.

Every man, woman and child was lost.

Every man and woman was present at the festival.

Rule III:

Look at these four sentences and note why different verbs have been used.


1. Neither Seeta nor Geeta was there.

2. Neither Seeta nor her friends were there.


1. Either Ram or Shyam has broken the vase.

2. Either Ram or his parents have broken the vase.

In sentence 1 in both A and B both the subjects are singular. Hence, we use Singular verb. (Ram or Shyam / Seeta nor Geeta)

In sentence 2 in both A and B the subjects joined by or and nor are of different numbers. Hence, the verb is plural.

(Seeta nor her friends) (Ram or his parents)

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