Subjects / Verb agreement


Usually we don't have difficulty in using the correct form of the verb, but there are cases when sentence patterns perplex us. Here we will consider these cases.

Use plural verb Use singular verb
With subjects linked by and: You and your family are my best friends. When two or more nouns/ pronouns are linked by or/ nor: Either Jane or Kerry is speaking on the phone.
If the last noun/pronoun of the compound subject connected by or/nor is in plural: Neither John nor his colleagues approve of it. With the pronouns each one, either, neither, everyone, everybody, anybody, anyone, nobody, somebody, someone, and no one, other , much:

Each of you has valuable work experience.

Everybody is welcome to join our expedition.

With nouns that define things consisting of two parts such as scissors, tweezers, trousers, and shears, tongs:

The trousers are tight on you.

With singular nouns ending in -s such as civics, mathematics, dollars, measles, news, physics.

The news is disappointing.

Mind, the word dollars can be used either with a singular or plural verb depending on its meaning:

For me 100 dollars is a fortune. (sum of money)

Dollars are used in many countries around the world. ( dollars= US currency)

In some cases though the subject is regarded as a singular group:

A few of the participants vote for this bill.

A handful of the strikers are picketing the headquarters of the company.

With collective nouns such as: group, team, committee, class, and family, crowd, class, jury:

My family is my fortress.

The committee is discussing the possible solutions.

Occasionally the plural verb is used if the noun indicates the individuals in the group.

The jury are deciding on the verdict.

  If the subject expresses the idea of amount:

Fifty people at the wedding is enough.

  A whole clause or phrase:

Crying over spilt milk is just wasting your time.

  With titles of books, films and other works of art, as well as the names of companies

The X-files is my favourite movie.

Scott&Friends is launching new line of clothing.

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