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HOMEWORK FOR REVIEW SESSION 1 (Check answers before class!

) SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

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5202 GRAMMAR (bung; ECTS 3) Winter Semester 2003-04 Tuesdays 16-18 in A3, Wednesdays 8-10 in C29

Sara B. Young sara.b.young@anglistik.uni-giessen.de www.uni-giessen.de/~ga1047

Subject and Verb Agreement: The Basics


A subject must agree with its verb in number. Ann always tells the truth. The twins always tell the truth. A phrase or clause that comes between a subject and the verb does not affect subject-verb agreement. The captain of the guards stands at attention. The troopers whom the captain put in charge of the roadblock stand on either side. Compound subjects consist of two or more subjects usually connected by or or and. Specific rules apply to compound subjects. Two or more singular subjects joined by or or nor must have a singular verb. o Beth or Sally is going to represent us. Two or more plural subjects joined by or or nor must have a plural verb. o The class presidents or the student council members are going to represent us. If one or more subjects are singular and the others are plural and they are joined by or or nor, the subject closest to the verb determines agreement. o Beth, Sally, or the twins are going to represent us. o Either the twins or Sally is going to represent us. A compound subject joined by and is generally plural and must have a plural verb. The conjunction and generally acts as a plus sign. Whether the parts of a compound subject joined by and are all singular, all plural, or a combination of singular and plural, they add up to a plural compound subject. o Sally and Joe are going to represent us. o The boys and girls are going to represent us. o The girls and Joe are going to represent us. Exceptions to the above rule regarding and: o If the parts of the compound subject are thought of as one item, then the compound subject is considered to be singular. Spaghetti and meatballs is my favorite Italian dish. o If the word every or each comes before a compound subject, it takes a singular verb. Every boy and girl in the class does volunteer work at the community center.

Compound Subjects Exercise: Decide which form of the given verb is correct. 1. The door and the window (is, are) both stuck. 2. Neither Mother nor Father (has phoned, have phoned). 3. The dog or the cats (is, are) always howling. 4. Apples and bananas (has been, have been) my favorite fruits for years. 5. Mary or Louise (belongs, belong) to the backgammon club. 6. Each morning Tom or the children (buys, buy) fresh rolls at the bakery. 7. Both the man with the appliances and the plumber (has, have) arrived. 8. My son and daughter (has, have) never been so cooperative. 9. Mark and David (isnt, arent) in the office yet. 10. Two large packages and a letter (was, were) put on her desk. 11. Either the children or I (walks, walk) into town for the mail. 12. My car or Teds (is, are) always available. 13. His messiness and my incessant chattering (annoys, annoy) Mother. 14. Every cup and saucer (was, were) broken in the move. 15. Rain and snow always (falls, fall) this time of year. 16. The principal or the assistant principal (wants, want) to speak with you. 17. After dinner either Bruce or Debbie (cleans, clean) the table. 18. Sausage and peppers in tomato sauce (was, were) served with a green salad. 19. Heavy rains and high winds (has, have) hit the coast.

HOMEWORK FOR REVIEW SESSION 1 (Check answers before class!) SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

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Subject and Verb Agreement: Confusing Subjects


Hard-to-find Subjects: A verb that comes before its subject must still agree with it in number. - On the top of the hill are two tractors. - There is only one orange in the basket. - There are still several oranges in the basket. Subjects with Linking Verbs: Do not confuse the subject with the predicate nominative. A linking verb must always agree with its subject, regardless of the number of its predicate nominative. - Speeding cars are one reason for the high accident rate. - One reason for the high accident rate is speeding cars. Collective Noun Subjects: A collective noun is singular and agrees with a singular verb when the group it names is considered to be a single unit. A collective noun is plural and agrees with a plural verb when the group it names is considered to be individuals with different points of view and feelings. This includes words such as association, audience, class, club, college, committee, community, company, crowd, department, electorate, enemy, family, firm, generation, government, group, jury, orchestra, population, press, public, school, staff, team, university. - The jury has reached a verdict. - The class is going on a field trip today. - The committee are in complete disagreement. - The cast of the play are rehearsing their lines. Plural-looking Subjects that take Singular Verbs: Nouns that are plural in form but singular in meaning agree with singular verbs. Such nouns include civics, economics, physics, mathematics, social studies, molasses, mumps, news (and others). - Social studies has become my favorite subject. - Measles is a dangerous disease for children. Plural-looking Subjects that take Plural Verbs: To make things trickier for foreign learners of English, there are also those nouns that end in s and do take plural verbs, unlike the category above. These include belongings, clothes, congratulations, earnings, good, outskirts, particulars, premises, riches, savings, stairs, surroundings, thanks. Police and people are also always plural. Titles as Subjects: No matter how long it is and whether it sounds plural, a title is always singular. - Divine Comedies by James Merrill is a Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poems. Amounts and Measurements as Subjects: A noun expressing an amount or measurement is usually singular and must usually have a singular verb. - Fifty cents is more than enough. (one sum of money) - Twelve feet was the length of the room. (one measurement) - Four fifths of the crop was saved. (one part of a total crop) - Half of the nails were bent and totally useless. (refers to individual nails) Percent (or per cent or %): Takes a singular verb, unless it is used in phrases with of + plural noun - Around ten percent of the forest is destroyed each year. - I would say that about 50 per cent of the houses need major repairs.

HOMEWORK FOR REVIEW SESSION 1 (Check answers before class!) SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

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Indefinite Pronoun Subjects: Depending on its form and meaning, an indefinite pronoun can agree with either a singular or a plural verb. singular anyone, everyone, someone anybody, everybody, somebody anything, everything, something each + singular noun every + singular noun any of, none of, the majority of, a lot of plenty of, all (of), some (of) + an uncountable noun the number of any of, each of, either of, neither of, none of + plural noun (although the plural is often used in spoken or informal English) Almost everybody from the local towns has come. Every room has its own bathroom. Almost all the furniture was destroyed in the fire. The number of books in the library has risen to over five million. I dont think any of them knows where the money is hidden. Both are coming to the dance. Few have responded to our invitation. Several of them are willing to testify. A number of refugees have been turned back at the border. plural both few many others several a/the majority of, a number of, a lot of, plenty of, all (of), some (of ) + a plural noun

Confusing Subjects Exercise: Decide which form of the given verb is correct. 1. Near the top of the closet (is, are) an old electric fan. 2. After hours of discussion, the committee (has, have) been unable to reach an agreement. 3. Rich foods (is, are) one cause of oily skin. 4. Economics (was, were) my sisters major in college. 5. (Do, Does) exotic plants thrive in this climate? 6. The group of tourists (has, have) left on the bus. 7. The jury (has, have) forwarded a complaint about the heat in the deliberation room. 8. (Is, Are) some of the soup still left? 9. (Heres Here are) more volunteers for the clean-up brigade. 10. The problem at the picnic (was, were) bees. 11. There (is, are) two excellent reasons and a few silly excuses for his choice. 12. Politics (was, were) one of his major interests for a long time. 13. The entire faculty (has, have) accepted the proposal. 14. (Theres, There are) the captains of both teams. 15. Another example of the areas underdevelopment (is, are) the narrow dirt roads. 16. There (is, are) only one possibly explanation. 17. Mumps (is, are) a dangerous disease for adults. 18. The team (has, have) been squabbling with each other all morning. 19. At the top of the stairs (is, are) the two lights. 20. (Is, Are) mathematics on your program this term? 21. Here (is, are) two records I particularly like. 22. The news from the Middle East (has, have) been unsettling. 23. The assembly (has, have) voted themselves a pay increase. 24. One of the girls (was, were) hurt on the soccer field. 25. Ten feet of cement (is, are) what we want for the patio. 26. Most of the reports (was, were) of poor quality. 27. Civics (has, have) not been taught as a subject in many schools for some time now.

HOMEWORK FOR REVIEW SESSION 1 (Check answers before class!) SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

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28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44.

At the top of the hill (stands, stand) two majestic oaks. The Brothers Karamazov (ranks, rank) as an outstanding Russian novel. There (was, were) several weaknesses in that survey. Now the audience (rises, rise) as one in appreciation. Each of the turntables (has, have) a drawback. Dirty streets (is, are) just one of our complaints. The couple (disagrees, disagree) with each other about where they should spend their vacation. Where (is, are) my new pliers? Others in the council (joins, join) in criticism. The jury (is, are) arguing over the details of the case. One fifth of our income (go, goes) to taxes. Bartletts Familiar Quotations (has, have) always been a fine resource for speakers. In back of the house (is, are) planted beans and cucumbers. Half of the new cars (has, have) significant defects. The Best of the Beatles (was, were) bound to be a classic from the beginning. (Theres, There are) only one person I can recommend. Four inches of growth in a year (is, are) outstanding.

Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise: Decide which form of the given verb is correct. 1. My brother or my mother (wants, want) to meet the train. 2. Both sailors (was, were) attempting to grasp the lifeline. 3. Most of the roast (seems, seem) too dry. 4. Fine artists often (collaborates, collaborate) in a performance. 5. Everyone (knows, know) what to expect from her. 6. Fruits or assorted nuts (is, are) excellent to serve. 7. Many a political cause (dies, die) soon after birth. 8. Trips to Europe (has, have) become more expensive. 9. The new series of recitals (appears, appear) to be successful. 10. That couple (has, have) been living there for years. 11. The Sense of the 60s (depicts, depict) a particularly turbulent era. 12. Examples of his poor judgment (has, have) been documented. 13. At the other end of town (is, are) a fine French restaurant. 14. More of our teammates now (agrees, agree) with me. 15. The Marx Brothers films still (delights, delight) audiences. 16. Either two friends or my teacher (is, are) planning to visit Bill in the hospital. 17. Hockey and football (has, have) always been particularly aggressive sports. 18. The strings in the orchestra (is, are) outstanding. 19. Either (has, have) been acceptable to us for some time. 20. Three fifths of the population (supports, support) the new law. Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise: Underline the noun that is the subject and fill in the appropriate form of the verb given in parentheses. 1. The issues which have been considered in the previous section __________ us to speculate on problems that learners might encounter. (allow) 2. Smuggling illegal immigrants out of Mexico __________ against the law. (be) 3. The countrys first general election since it won independence __________ to be held next month. (be) 4. The only people who are interested in the book __________ to be lawyers. (seem) 5. The view of the manufacturing and tourist industries __________ that the economy is improving. (be) 6. An early analysis of the results __________ that the Socialists have won. (show) 7. Reliance only on written tests of English to measure language ability __________ to be a cheap option. (appear) Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise: Complete each of the following sentences with an appropriate verb in the present tense. 1. Great Expectations __________ one of my favorite novels. 2. Everybody always __________ the annual picnic. 3. Our class __________ voted unanimously to put on a play. 4. An umbrella or a raincoat __________ a good choice today. 5. One of our radios __________ not been working well lately. 6. Two thirds of the cake __________ covered with whipped cream.

HOMEWORK FOR REVIEW SESSION 1 (Check answers before class!) SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

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7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

Several copies of the newspaper __________ in the library. There __________ only one possible excuse for their lateness. Economics __________ a subject I have trouble understanding. Sixty-five cents __________ too much for a pencil. Every flower and plant __________ been watered properly. In front of the magazine __________ two unusual photos. The jury __________ returned to their seats. Here __________ two reasons to support her campaign for senator. A reason for possible breakdowns __________ poor original designs. A trip to Europe or Asia __________ out of the question. Tennis and golf now __________ at the height of their popularity. Most of the plants __________ in good health. Outdoor lights or a strong reflector __________ an absolute must to prevent accidents.

Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise: Complete each of the following sentences with the appropriate verb: either is, are, has, or have. 1. A number of shoppers __________ complained about the price increases. 2. I can assure you that everything __________ perfectly safe. 3. Either of the dentists __________ available. Which one do you want to see? 4. The majority of primary school teachers __________ women. 5. Each of Susans colleagues __________ sent her a personal letter of support. 6. Although some people find cricket boring, each match __________ different. 7. Weve got two cars, but neither of them __________ particularly new. 8. All the office staff __________ agreed to work late tonight to get the job finished. 9. A lot of the pollution __________ caused by the paper factory on the edge of town. 10. None of the TV programs __________ worth watching tonight. 11. Researchers have reported that neither of the so-called environmentally friendly fuels __________ less damaging than petrol or diesel. 12. I hope everyone __________ a good holiday. See you next term. 13. The number of pupils in school with reading difficulties __________ fallen this year. 14. Some people __________ the strangest hobbies. My brother collects bottles! 15. None of the information __________ particularly useful to me!

Bauer, Mary Beth, Lawrence Biener, Linda Capo, et al. Grammar and Composition. Level 3. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1982. 266-276. --. Grammar and Composition. Level 4. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1982. 244-58. Hewings, Martin. Advanced Grammar in Use: A self-study reference and practice book for advanced learners of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 102-5.

HOMEWORK FOR REVIEW SESSION 1 (Check answers before class!) SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

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5202 GRAMMAR (bung; ECTS 3) Winter Semester 2003-04 Tuesdays 16-18 in A3, Wednesdays 8-10 in C29

Sara B. Young sara.b.young@anglistik.uni-giessen.de www.uni-giessen.de/~ga1047

Subject and Verb Agreement: The Basics The Answers


Compound Subjects Exercise: Decide which form of the given verb is correct. 1. The door and the window (is, are) both stuck. 2. Neither Mother nor Father (has phoned, have phoned). 3. The dog or the cats (is, are) always howling. 4. Apples and bananas (has been, have been) my favorite fruits for years. 5. Mary or Louise (belongs, belong) to the backgammon club. 6. Each morning Tom or the children (buys, buy) fresh rolls at the bakery. 7. Both the man with the appliances and the plumber (has, have) arrived. 8. My son and daughter (has, have) never been so cooperative. 9. Mark and David (isnt, arent) in the office yet. 10. Two large packages and a letter (was, were) put on her desk. 11. Either the children or I (walks, walk) into town for the mail. 12. Joan and Ellen (hasnt, havent) heard from them for a month. 13. My car or Teds (is, are) always available. 14. His messiness and my incessant chattering (annoys, annoy) Mother. 15. Every cup and saucer (was, were) broken in the move. 16. Rain and snow always (falls, fall) this time of year. 17. The principal or the assistant principal (wants, want) to speak with you. 18. After dinner either Bruce or Debbie (cleans, clean) the table. 19. Sausage and peppers in tomato sauce (was, were) served with a green salad. 20. Heavy rains and high winds (has, have) hit the coast.
Bauer, Mary Beth, Lawrence Biener, Linda Capo, et al. Grammar and Composition. Level 3. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1982. 267-8.

Confusing Subjects Exercise: Decide which form of the given verb is correct. 1. Near the top of the closet (is, are) an old electric fan. 2. After hours of discussion, the committee (has, have) been unable to reach an agreement. 3. Rich foods (is, are) one cause of oily skin. 4. Economics (was, were) my sisters major in college. 5. (Do, Does) exotic plants thrive in this climate? 6. The group of tourists (has, have) left on the bus. 7. The jury (has, have) forwarded a complaint about the heat in the deliberation room. 8. (Is, Are) some of the soup still left? 9. (Heres Here are) more volunteers for the clean-up brigade. 10. The problem at the picnic (was, were) bees. 11. There (is, are) two excellent reasons and a few silly excuses for his choice. 12. Politics (was, were) one of his major interests for a long time. 13. The entire faculty (has, have) accepted the proposal. 14. (Theres, There are) the captains of both teams. 15. Another example of the areas underdevelopment (is, are) the narrow dirt roads. 16. There (is, are) only one possibly explanation. 17. Mumps (is, are) a dangerous disease for adults. 18. The team (has, have) been squabbling with each other all morning. 19. At the top of the stairs (is, are) the two lights. 20. (Is, Are) mathematics on your program this term? 21. Here (is, are) two records I particularly like. 22. The news from the Middle East (has, have) been unsettling. 23. The assembly (has, have) voted themselves a pay increase. 24. One of the girls (was, were) hurt on the soccer field. 25. Ten feet of cement (is, are) what we want for the patio. 26. Most of the reports (was, were) of poor quality. 27. Civics (has, have) not been taught as a subject in many schools for some time now. 28. At the top of the hill (stands, stand) two majestic oaks. 29. The Brothers Karamazov (ranks, rank) as an outstanding Russian novel.

HOMEWORK FOR REVIEW SESSION 1 (Check answers before class!) SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

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30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44.

There (was, were) several weaknesses in that survey. Now the audience (rises, rise) as one in appreciation. Each of the turntables (has, have) a drawback. Dirty streets (is, are) just one of our complaints. The couple (disagrees, disagree) with each other about where they should spend their vacation. Where (is, are) my new pliers? Others in the council (joins, join) in criticism. The jury (is, are) arguing over the details of the case. One fifth of our income (go, goes) to taxes. Bartletts Familiar Quotations (has, have) always been a fine resource for speakers. In back of the house (is, are) planted beans and cucumbers. Half of the new cars (has, have) significant defects. The Best of the Beatles (was, were) bound to be a classic from the beginning. (Theres, There are) only one person I can recommend. Four inches of growth in a year (is, are) outstanding.

Bauer, Mary Beth, Lawrence Biener, Linda Capo, et al. Grammar and Composition. Level 3. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1982. 272-3. --. Grammar and Composition. Level 4. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1982. 256-7.

Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise: Decide which form of the given verb is correct. 1. My brother or my mother (wants, want) to meet the train. 2. Both sailors (was, were) attempting to grasp the lifeline. 3. Most of the roast (seems, seem) too dry. 4. Fine artists often (collaborates, collaborate) in a performance. 5. Everyone (knows, know) what to expect from her. 6. Fruits or assorted nuts (is, are) excellent to serve. 7. Many a political cause (dies, die) soon after birth. 8. Trips to Europe (has, have) become more expensive. 9. The new series of recitals (appears, appear) to be successful. 10. That couple (has, have) been living there for years. 11. The Sense of the 60s (depicts, depict) a particularly turbulent era. 12. Examples of his poor judgment (has, have) been documented. 13. At the other end of town (is, are) a fine French restaurant. 14. More of our teammates now (agrees, agree) with me. 15. The Marx Brothers films still (delights, delight) audiences. 16. Either two friends or my teacher (is, are) planning to visit Bill in the hospital. 17. Hockey and football (has, have) always been particularly aggressive sports. 18. The strings in the orchestra (is, are) outstanding. 19. Either (has, have) been acceptable to us for some time. 20. Three fifths of the population (supports, support) the new law.
Bauer, Mary Beth, Lawrence Biener, Linda Capo, et al. Grammar and Composition. Level 4. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1982. 257-8.

Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise: Underline the noun that is the subject and fill in the appropriate form of the verb given in parentheses. 1. The issues which have been considered in the previous section ALLOW us to speculate on problems that learners might encounter. (allow) 2. Smuggling illegal immigrants out of Mexico IS against the law. (be) 3. The countrys first general election since it won independence IS to be held next month. (be) 4. The only people who are interested in the book SEEM to be lawyers. (seem) 5. The view of the manufacturing and tourist industries IS that the economy is improving. (be) 6. An early analysis of the results SHOWS that the Socialists have won. (show) 7. Reliance only on written tests of English to measure language ability APPEARS to be a cheap option. (appear)
Hewings, Martin. Advanced Grammar in Use: A self-study reference and practice book for advanced learners of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 103.

HOMEWORK FOR REVIEW SESSION 1 (Check answers before class!) SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

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Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise: Complete each of the following sentences with an appropriate verb in the present tense. (Other verbs may be possible.) 1. Great Expectations IS one of my favorite novels. 2. Everybody always ATTENDS the annual picnic. 3. Our class HAS voted unanimously to put on a play. 4. An umbrella or a raincoat IS a good choice today. 5. One of our radios HAS not been working well lately. 6. Two thirds of the cake IS covered with whipped cream. 7. Several copies of the newspaper ARE in the library. 8. There IS only one possible excuse for their lateness. 9. Economics IS a subject I have trouble understanding. 10. Sixty-five cents IS too much for a pencil. 11. Every flower and plant HAS been watered properly. 12. In front of the magazine ARE two unusual photos. 13. The jury HAVE returned to their seats. 14. Here ARE two reasons to support her campaign for senator. 15. A reason for possible breakdowns IS poor original designs. 16. A trip to Europe or Asia IS out of the question. 17. Tennis and golf now ARE at the height of their popularity. 18. Most of the plants ARE in good health. 19. Outdoor lights or a strong reflector IS an absolute must to prevent accidents.
Bauer, Mary Beth, Lawrence Biener, Linda Capo, et al. Grammar and Composition. Level 4. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1982. 258.

Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise: Complete each of the following sentences with the appropriate verb: either is, are, has, or have. 1. A number of shoppers HAVE complained about the price increases. 2. I can assure you that everything IS perfectly safe. 3. Either of the dentists IS available. Which one do you want to see? 4. The majority of primary school teachers ARE women. 5. Each of Susans colleagues HAS sent her a personal letter of support. 6. Although some people find cricket boring, each match IS different. 7. Weve got two cars, but neither of them IS particularly new. 8. All the office staff HAVE agreed to work late tonight to get the job finished. 9. A lot of the pollution IS caused by the paper factory on the edge of town. 10. None of the TV programs IS worth watching tonight. 11. Researchers have reported that neither of the so-called environmentally friendly fuels IS less damaging than petrol or diesel. 12. I hope everyone HAS a good holiday. See you next term. 13. The number of pupils in school with reading difficulties HAS fallen this year. 14. Some people HAVE the strangest hobbies. My brother collects bottles! 15. None of the information IS particularly useful to me!
Hewings, Martin. Advanced Grammar in Use: A self-study reference and practice book for advanced learners of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 105.