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.
Note: In the correction of sentences part of many competitive
examinations the S – V concord is usually tested.
Rule 1: Two or more singular nouns when they are joined by
‘and’, require a Verb in the Plural
A man and his wife has come here asking for work
A man and his wife have come here asking for work ✔
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The District Magistrate and Collector are on leave today.
The District Magistrate and Collector is on leave today ✔
i. Article ‘The’ article is used only once when the two nouns refer
to the same person or thing.
ii. If the nouns refer to different persons or things, article ‘The’ is
used before each noun. In such cases, the verb will be in the plural form.
The Secretary and the president has been
giving warm welcome ✘
The Secretary and the president have been
giving warm welcome ✔
(b) If two different singular nouns express one idea, the verb should
be in the singular form.
Slow and Steady win the race ✘
Slow and Steady wins the race ✔
Rice and curry are my favourite dish ✘
Rice and curry is my favourite dish ✔
(c) When two singular subjects are practically synonymous the verb
should be in the singular form. Power and position, Peace and Prosperity,
Law and order etc.
The law and order situation in the state are under control
The law and order situation in the state is under control
His power and influence are on the decline ✘
His power and influence is on the decline ✔
Rule 2: When two or more Singular Subjects are connected
by or, nor, either … or, neither … nor, the Verb is
Either james or John are to be promoted ✘
Either james or John is to be promoted ✔
Neither the man nor his wife have done much work ✘
Neither the man nor his wife has done much work ✔
No boy or girl are allowed to play in school ✘
No boy or girl is allowed to play in school ✔
When the subjects joined by ‘either – or’ neither – nor’ are of different
persons, the verb will agree in person and number with the nearest one to it.
Also, the plural subject must be placed nearest to the verb. (This is very
Neither you nor he are to take up this task ✘
Neither you nor he is to take up this task ✔
Either the Chief Minister or the Cabinet Ministers is responsible
for this problem. ✘
Either the Chief Minister or the Cabinet Ministers are responsible
for this problem. ✔
Either you or I are responsible for this mistake. ✘
Either you or I am responsible for this mistake. ✔
Rule 3: If two singular subjects (combined by and) are
preceded by each or every, the verb should be in the singular.
Every boy and girl were present in the class yesterday.
Every boy and girl was present in the class
Rule4: If with, together with, as well as, accompanied by etc
are used to combine two subjects the verb agrees with the subject mentioned
The President of India together with his personal secretaries are invited
to this function ✘
The President of India together with his personal secretaries is invited
to this function ✔
The actress, along with her manager and some friends, are invited
to the function ✘
The actress, along with her manager and some friends, is invited
to the function ✔
Mr. Micheal, accompanied by wife and children are arriving tonight by
Mr. Micheal, accompanied by wife and children is arriving tonight by
Note: If the conjunction “and” is used instead,
the verb would then be plural.
(i) Sushma and Rajitha are our professor’s daughters ✔
(ii) The study of languages and sciences is very important for your
Here study is singular so singular verb “is” is used.
Rule 5: When ‘not only ……. but also’ is
used to combine two subject, the verb agrees with the subject close to it.
Not only silver, but also gold are mined in this country ✘
Not only silver, but also gold is mined in this country ✔
Rule 6: None / No. None can take either a
singular or plural verb depending on the noun which follows it
Structure: none + of the + non-count noun +
None of the counterfeit money have been found ✘
None of the counterfeit money has been found ✔
Structure: none + of the + plural count noun +
None of the students has finished the exam yet ✘
None of the students have finished the exam yet ✔
No can take either a singular or plural verb depending on the noun which
Structure: No + singular noun + singular verb
No example is relevant to this case ✔
Structure: no + plural noun + plural verb
No examples are relevant to this case ✔
Rule 7: Many words indicating a number of people or animals are
singular. The following nouns are usually singular. In some cases they are
plural if the sentence indicates that the individual members are acting
congress, family, group, committee, class, organisation, team, army, club,
crowd, government, jury, minority, public
Examples of collective nouns:
The committee have met and accepted the proposal ✘
The committee has met and accepted the proposal ✔
The family were happy at the news ✘
The family was happy at the news ✔
The crowd was wild with excitement ✔
Congress has initiated a new plan to combat inflation ✔
Our team is certain to win the match ✔
The family living next door often quarrel among themselves ✔
Rule 8: Majority can be singular or plural. If it is alone
it is usually singular, if it is followed by a plural noun, it is usually
The majority believe that the country can progress ✘
The majority believes that the country can progress ✔
The majority of the lecturers believes that the student has
not copied in the examination ✘
The majority of the lecturers believe that the student has not
copied in the examination ✔
Rule 9: A number of / the number
Observe the two structures:
(i) a number of + plural noun + plural verb.
(ii) the number of + plural noun + singular
A number of students is going to the class picnic ✘
A number of students are going to the class picnic ✔
The number of days in a week are seven ✘
The number of days in a week is seven ✔
The number of residents who have been residing in this colony is quite
A number of the applicants have already been interviewed ✔
Rule 10: Collective nouns indicating time, money, and measurements
used as a whole are singular and take a singular verb.
Twenty-five rupees are not such big amount for him ✘
Twenty-five rupees is not such big amount for him ✔
Two miles are too much for this man to run ✘
Two miles is too much for this man to run ✔
Rule 11: When a lot of, a great deal of, plenty of, most
of, and some of refer to number, a plural verb is used.
A lot of people was present in the gallery some of the students were
A lot of people were present in the gallery some of the students were
Note : If these expressions refer to an amount, the verb is in the
A lot of work has to be completed before we go ✔
A great deal of work has been finished ✔
Rule 12: When the percentage or a part of something is mentioned with
plural meaning the plural verb is used.
30% of Indian women is literate ✘
30% of Indian women are literate ✔
Rule 13: ‘Barracks’, headquarters, ‘whereabouts’ ‘alms’ etc. take
a singular verb, as well as the plural verb.
The headquarters of the UNO is / are New York ✔
Rule 14: In sports, while referring to the players, the name of
the country is followed by plural verb.
England has won the World Cup ✘
England have won the World Cup. ✔
Rule 15: When the ‘enemy’ is used in the sense “armed forces”
of a nation with which one’s country is at war, we have to use the plural verb.
The enemy were forced to
Rule 16: Whenever a number of adjectives qualify the same
person or thing, then these may be placed after the noun and the verb must
quality immediately preceding subject. who, which, that are relative
pronouns. You simply substitute the noun in this place and read the question.
It is I who has to learn a lesson. ✘
It is I who am to learn a lesson. ✔
It is they who has to leave this place. ✘
It is they who have to leave this place. ✔
One of the songs that has been broadcast is really marvelous. ✘
One of the songs that have been broadcast is really marvelous. ✔
A girl or a boy who do not strive to gain their objectives, is bound
to fail. ✘
A girl or a boy who doesn’t strive to gain his or her objectives, is
bound to fail. ✔
There is not a single book out of the lot that are not
There is not a single book out of the lot that is not interesting.