ENglish - VinglisH!

Dear Students,

English Section in the exam is a section where some students score very well but others even fail to clear cut-off. Learning Grammar is really essential to score good marks. But, what happens is that students from various boards where lesser attention is paid on English language fail to apply grammar during the examination even if they know the rules. 

So, conclusion is that practicing in some interesting way so that the things remain intact in your mind is important. Keeping this in mind, we have launched this series of "ENglish - VinglisH". We have discussed some basic sentence errors and use of some basic words in English. Also, we are done with Tenses and have completed the basics of VERB as well. Now we will learn about "Subject Verb Agreement"

This is the 31st post of ENglish - VinglisH. Hope you people like it.

So, lets start now!!


One of the most common grammatical problems is failure to make the subject and verb agree with each other in a sentence. Verb should always agree with the subject. So, there are some set of rules which must be followed in order to frame a correct sentence.

The basic fundamental behind every sentence is same i.e. Single subjects take singular verbs. Plural subjects take plural verbs.

Single subjects take singular verbs. Plural subjects take plural verbs.

Singular words means there is only one person or thing.
The bell rings. Amitabh plays.

Plural words mean to be more than one person or thing.
The bells ring. Amitabh and his brother play.

But there are some special cases as well.  So, we are providing here some rules which will help you to place correct verb with the different subjects. We will be learning here 5 rules everyday in order to master the topics and so that they do not get messed up.


1. Collective Nouns

A collective noun is a word naming a group acting as a unit. Some examples are bunch, group, family, class, company, committee and team.


(i) If you are referring to the group acting as a unit, use a singular verb.
(ii) If you are referring to the members of the group acting individually, use a plural verb.

The Indian team is sure to win the Olympics 2016. (Here "team" refers to the group acting as a whole.)

The Indian team are getting into their uniforms now. (The separate members of the team are acting individually.)

2. Sometimes nouns take weird forms and can fool us into thinking they're plural while they're actually singular and vice-versa. Words such as glasses, pants, pliers, and scissors are regarded as plural unless they're preceded the phrase pair of (in that case the word 'pair' becomes the subject).

My glasses were on the bed.
My pants were torn.
A pair of plaid trousers is in the closet.
A pair of scissors is lying on the bed.

3. Units of Quantity like - money, time, mass, length and distance - These require singular verbs.

Five Rupees is too much to pay for a Samosa.
Six hours is a long time to wait.
Seventy kilograms is the mass of an average man.

4. The conjunction or does not conjoin (as and does): 

When nor, or, or is used, the subject closer to the verb determines the number of the verb. Whether the subject comes before or after the verb doesn't matter; the proximity determines the number.

Either my father or my brothers are going to sell the house.
Neither my brothers nor my father is going to sell the house.
Are either my brothers or my father responsible?
Is either my father or my brothers responsible?

NOTE: Because a sentence like "Neither my brothers nor my father is going to sell the house" sounds peculiar, it is probably a good idea to put the plural subject closer to the verb whenever that is possible.

5. The words "there" and "here" are never subjects - 

There are two reasons (plural subject) for this.
There is no reason (singular subject) for this.
Here are two apples (plural subject).

In these type of sentences (called expletive sentences), the subject follows the verb but still determines the number of the verb.

We will learn some more rules of 'Subject Verb Agreement' tomorrow!

Till then, study well!

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