Subject Verb Agreement
6. The words "here" and "there" are not used as subjects. When they start a sentence, you must look elsewhere
for the subject. Also, you must be careful to find the correct subject when dealing with questions because
the subject will often not be the first word of the question. Study the following (subjects are underlined):
There go my two best friends. Where has she gone? Here is your math book.
Why are you doing this? What are their names? There seem to be problems.
7. Some nouns that end in "s" are singular in meaning and require a singular verb. Other nouns that end in "s"
are singular in meaning but require a plural verb. Consider these examples:
Mathematics is easy. Measles is a contagious disease. Physics is complicated.
The scissors are sharp. My pants need to be washed. Those shorts are torn.
8. Collective nouns such as "class" or "team" may be singular or plural depending upon how they are used:
emphasis on the group takes a singular verb; emphasis on members acting individually requires a plural
The class was dismissed. The class are presenting their reports this week.
(The whole group as one.) (The class members individually will give the reports.)
9. In an adjective clause, the verb agrees with the antecedent of the relative pronoun (who, which, that), which
is usually the nearest noun. When "only one" is emphasized among a larger number, always use "one" as
the singular antecedent. Consider the following examples (the antecedents are underlined):
I like a dog that is friendly. I like dogs that are friendly. One of the dogs that are sick is mine.
Only one of the girls who is coming is single. That is the only one of the dogs that is still sick.
10. Weights, measures, time, and money can be either singular or plural. If they are thought of as whole
quantities, they are singular; if they are countable, separate units, then they are considered plural.
Fifty feet of hose is enough. (singular) Ten one-dollar bills are on the table. (plural)
1. Joe and Jim (have, has) been friends for a long time. They (is, are) neighbors and (play, plays) in a band.
2. Neither Jan nor I (were, was) able to attend the meeting. We (were, was) sorry we had to miss it.
3. Each of the barrels (is, are) full. Each one (need, needs) to be inspected. They (is, are) from Italy.
4. There (has, have) been two tornadoes near here this year. They (frighten, frightens) me.
5. The stories in this book (doesn't, don't) interest me, but my wife and son (enjoy, enjoys) them.
6. The nurse or the secretary (come, comes) in on Saturday. Much work (needs, need) to be done.
7. One of those sentences (don't, doesn't) make sense to me, but my classmates (weren't, wasn't)
confused by it.
8. None of the tests (has, have) been graded, but all of the homework (has, have) been checked.
9. Anyone who (want, wants) to try out (need, needs) to make an appointment.
10. The doctor and her husband (take, takes) a trip to Mexico each year.
11. This class, together with math and biology, (keep, keeps) me extremely busy.
12. Here (come, comes) the meanest kids on the block. Why (do, does) they act so bad?
13. Every one of the shoes (seems, seem) to need a shine. Neither of us (was, were) ready to do it though.
14. Jason, Timothy, Sandra, or I (am, are) responsible for closing the store on the weekend.
15. Forty dollars (seem, seems) too high a price. There (has, have) to be better bargains somewhere in town.
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