Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of written and spoken communication. This rule states that the subject and verb must agree in number, which essentially means that a singular subject requires a singular verb, and a plural subject requires a plural verb. However, subject-verb agreement questions can be quite tricky, and even experienced writers may make mistakes.
In this article, we will provide some common subject-verb agreement questions and answers to help you avoid errors in your writing.
Question 1: Which verb should I use when the subject is a collective noun?
Collective nouns refer to groups of people or things, such as team, family, or committee. The trick here is to determine whether the collective noun is acting as a single unit or as individual members. If the collective noun is acting as a single unit, use a singular verb. If it is acting as individual members, use a plural verb. For example:
– The team is working hard to win the championship. (team is acting as a single unit)
– The committee are divided in their opinions. (committee is acting as individual members)
Question 2: What verb should I use when a subject is joined by “and”?
When two or more subjects are joined by “and,” use a plural verb. For example:
– John and Sarah are excellent musicians.
However, if the subjects are joined by “or” or “nor,” use a singular verb that agrees with the nearest subject. For example:
– Neither John nor Sarah is interested in politics.
– The cake or the cookies are delicious.
Question 3: Should I use a singular or plural verb with “there” as the subject?
When the noun following “there” is singular, use a singular verb. When the noun is plural, use a plural verb. For example:
– There is a book on the table. (book is singular)
– There are several books on the table. (books are plural)
Question 4: What verb should I use when the subject is a compound subject?
A compound subject consists of two or more nouns or pronouns joined by “and.” Use a plural verb when the compound subject refers to more than one person or thing. For example:
– My sister and I are going to the movies.
However, if the compound subject refers to a single thing, use a singular verb. For example:
– Macaroni and cheese is my favorite comfort food.
Question 5: What verb should I use with “each” and “every”?
Use a singular verb with “each” and “every,” as they both refer to a single person or thing. For example:
– Each student is required to attend the meeting.
– Every flower in the garden is blooming beautifully.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a crucial rule in grammar that influences how effectively your message is conveyed. By understanding the common subject-verb agreement questions and answers, you can write confidently and accurately, avoiding errors that may miscommunicate your intended message.