Subject-Verb Agreement: English Language Notes for Bank and Other Competitive Exams


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SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

In order to excel or master the English section of any bank exam, it is important to have a thorough knowledge of all the rules of subject-verb agreement. While doing sentence improvement or error detection questions, it is always required for us to check whether the subject and verb are in agreement with each other or not.
What is Subject-Verb Agreement?
Subject verb agreement simply means the subject and verb must agree in number. This means both need to be singular or both need to be plural.
Let’s take an example to understand this concept.
Example 1: Raman is playing with a ball.
In this case, the subject of the sentence is ‘Raman’ and the verb used is singular in nature, ‘is playing’.
Example 2: The dogs are playing with their ball.
In this case, the subject of the sentence is ‘dogs’ and the verb used is plural in nature, ‘are playing’.
Subject-Verb Agreement Rules:
It is important to take into account the subject-verb agreement while doing sentence correction. Following are the basic rules to do so:
RULE 1: When two subjects are joined by ‘and’, the verb is plural.
For example: Me and my friend are going to Maldives for Christmas.
RULE 2: When two singular nouns joined by ‘and’ refer to the same person or thing, the verb is singular. 
For example: The captain and the coach of the team has been sacked.
In case these were two different individuals, two articles need to be used: The captain and the coach of the team have been sacked.   
         
RULE 3: Indefinite pronouns (everyone, each one, someone, somebody, anyone, anybody etc.) are always singular. 
For example:  Everyone deserves love.
For example: Someone must have stolen your favourite necklace.
We do not use ‘are’ in this sentence. 
This rule does not apply to: few, many, several, all, some and both.
RULE 4: When the percentage or a part of something has a plural meaning, then the  plural verb is used.
For example: 30 out of every 100 children are malnutrishioned.
RULE 5: When the subjects, joined by ‘either or’ or ‘neither nor’ are for different persons, the verb will agree in person and number with the noun nearest to it.
For example: Neither you nor your friends know how to behave.
For example: Either of the books is fine for GATE preparation.
Always remember that, when either and neither are used as pronouns, they are treated as singular and always take the singular verb. 
RULE 6: If connectives/appositives like- along with, together with, as well as, accompanied by etc. are used to combine two subjects, the verb agrees with the subject mentioned first.
For example: Mr. Ashok, accompanied by his wife Rita and his mother, was admitted in the hospital.
RULE 7: A number of/ the number of
‘A number of (some countable noun)’ is always plural. ‘The number of (some countable noun)’ is always singular.
For example: A number of students are going to the amusement park for a picnic.
For example: The number of immigrants in US has increased by nearly 40% from 2011-2016.
RULE 8: The singular verb form is usually used for units of measurement or time.
For example: Five gallons of oil was required to get the engine running.
RULE 9: When any of ‘few, many, several, both, all, some’ is used with a countable noun, the verb is plural.
For example: Some apples are required for making the pie.
RULE 10: When any of ‘few, many, several, both, all, some’ is used with an uncountable noun, the verb is singular.
For example: Some water has evaporated.

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