SUBJECT VERB AGREEMENT
In English, the verb must agree with its subject in number and person. In other words, the verb must be of the same number and person as the subject. Subjects and verbs must agree in number. This is the main rule that forms the background of the concept.
Subjects don’t always come before verbs in questions. Make sure you accurately identify the subject before deciding on the proper verb form to use.
1 Where are the pieces of this puzzle?
(The subject is not this puzzle but it is the pieces of this puzzle so the subject is plural)
2 The study of languages and sciences is very important for your study.
(The subject is not languages and sciences but it is study.)
When two singular nouns are connected by and the verb used will be plural.
The boy and the girl are waiting outside the school.
- A) But when the two nouns connected by and together represent the same person, same thing or same idea the verb used will be singular.
Eg . The principal and science teacher has not come to the school today. (Here the principal is also the science teacher)
- B) If two different singular nouns express one idea, the verb should be in the singular form. Or the two singular nouns/uncountable nouns are used in pairs then the verb used will be singular. The law and order situation in the state are under control (Incorrect)
The law and order situation in the state is under control (Correct)
Profit and loss is a part of business. (Profit and loss goes in pairs so a singular verb (is)
Hard work and luck is important for success.
‘Unlike’, no less than’, ‘nothing but’ ‘As well as’, ‘with’, ‘alongwith’, ‘together with’, ‘and not’, ‘In addition to’, ‘but’, ‘besides’, ‘except’, ‘rather than’, ‘accompained by’ and ‘like’ . If these words are the connecting words that join two subjects then the verb used will be according to the first subject.
(1) My sister (S.S) unlike my brothers wishes (S.V) to have a career in engineering.
(2) The actress, along with her manager and some friends, are invited to the function (Incorrect)
The actress, along with her manager and some friends, is invited to the function (Correct)
When two or more subjects are connected by or, nor, either … or, neither … nor, the verb is according to the subject close to it.
1 Either James or John are to be promoted. (Incorrect)
Either James or John is to be promoted. (Correct)
2 Neither the girls nor he are to take up this task (Incorrect)
Neither you nor he is to take up this task (Correct)
3 Either the Chief Minister or the Cabinet Ministers is responsible for this problem. (Incorrect)
Either the Chief Minister or the Cabinet Ministers are responsible for this problem. (Correct)
4 Either you or I are responsible for this mistake. (Incorrect)
Either you or I am responsible for this mistake. (Correct)
Usage of either, neither, none etc.
‘Neither of……’ It is only used in case of two things or persons and not one of the two.
Neither of his five sons settled in India. (incorrect)
None of his four sons looked after him. (correct)
‘Either of……”It means the choice is between two persons and things and one of the two.
Either of the three children has broken the window. (incorrect)
One of……….. It is used to select one out of something that has more than two.
One of the six boys admitted before the principal that they had all cheated in the exam.
Do not use both and not in the same sentence.
If we wish to state that out of the two things not even one of them then use neither of.
Both of the girls did not reach the examination centre on time. (incorrect )
Neither of the girls reached the examination centre on time. (correct)