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KEMENTERIAN RISET, TEKNOLOGI, DAN PENDIDIKAN TINGGI

UNIVERSITAS JEMBER
UKM PENALARAN BAHASA INGGRIS
UNIVERSITY STUDENT ENGLISH FORUM (USEF)
Jalan Kalimantan Kompleks PKM Kavling Selatan Nomor 3 Jember 68121
iloveusef@gmail.com USEF UNEJ usefunej iloveusef.wordpress.com

Subject and Verb Agreements

Basic Rule. The basic rule states that a singular subject takes a singular verb while a plural subject
takes a plural verb. The trick is knowing whether the subject is singular or plural. The next trick is
recognizing a singular or plural verb.

Hint.You must add an s or es at the end of the verb when the subject (or the entity

performing the action) is a singular third person: he, she, it, or words for which these pronouns

could substitute. This is not a problem in the past or future tenses (skipped and will skip, for

instance), but becomes trickier in the present tense.


Examples

He, She, It All others


Roberto eats all of the oranges. They eat everything but the rind.

She wonders which constellations are


I wonder if Leo has already passed.
hidden.

It lasts for another three hours or until Veronica and Kevin last as long as they

they score. can.

A. SUBJECT SEPARATED FROM THE VERB

Very often, if the subject and the verb are separated, they are separated by a prepositional
phrase which has no effect on the verb

subject + [prepositional phrase] + verb

Examples

The study of languages is very interesting.


The effects of that crime are likely to be devastating.
The fear of rape and robbery has caused many people to flee the cities.

Sometimes the subject is separated from the verb by words such as along with, as well as,
besides, not, etc. Ignore these expressions when determining whether to use a singular or plural
verb.
KEMENTERIAN RISET, TEKNOLOGI, DAN PENDIDIKAN TINGGI
UNIVERSITAS JEMBER
UKM PENALARAN BAHASA INGGRIS
UNIVERSITY STUDENT ENGLISH FORUM (USEF)
Jalan Kalimantan Kompleks PKM Kavling Selatan Nomor 3 Jember 68121
iloveusef@gmail.com USEF UNEJ usefunej iloveusef.wordpress.com

Examples

The politician, along with the newsmen, is expected shortly.


Excitement, as well as nervousness, is the cause of her shaking.

B. WORDS THAT ALWAYS TAKE SINGULAR VERBS AND PRONOUNS

The pronouns each, everyone, everybody, anyone, anybody, someone, and somebody are singular.
Do not be misled by what follows of.

Examples

Each of the girls sings well.


Everyone of the cakes is gone.

NOTE: Everyone is one word when it means everybody.

1) NONE/NO

None can take either a singular or plural verb depending on the noun which follows it.

none + of the + non-count noun + singular verb

Examples

None of the counterfeit money has been found.

none + of the + plural count noun + plural verb

Examples

None of the students have finished the exam yet.

None can take either a singular or plural verb depending on the noun which follows it.

none + {singular noun/non-count noun} + singular verb

Examples

No example is a relevant to this case.


KEMENTERIAN RISET, TEKNOLOGI, DAN PENDIDIKAN TINGGI
UNIVERSITAS JEMBER
UKM PENALARAN BAHASA INGGRIS
UNIVERSITY STUDENT ENGLISH FORUM (USEF)
Jalan Kalimantan Kompleks PKM Kavling Selatan Nomor 3 Jember 68121
iloveusef@gmail.com USEF UNEJ usefunej iloveusef.wordpress.com

no + plural noun + plural verb

Examples

No examples are a relevant to this case.

2) EITHER/NEITHER

When either and neither are followed by or and nor, the verb may be singular or plural, depending
on the noun near to the verb.

{neither/either} + noun + {nor/or} + pural noun + plural verb

Examples

Neither John nor his friends are going to the beach today.
Either John or his friends are going to the beach today.

{neither/either} + noun + {nor/or} + singular noun + singular verb

Examples

Neither the boys nor Carmen has seen this movie before
Either John or Bill is going to the beach today.

C. GERUNDS AS SUBJECTS

If a sentence begins with [verb + ing] (gerund), the verb must be singular.

Examples

Knowing her has made him what he is.


Dieting is very popular today.
Writing many letters makes her happy.

D. COLLECTIVE NOUNS

Words indicating a number of people or animals are singular, then the following nouns are
singular. In some cases they are plural if sentence indicates that individual members are acting
separately.
KEMENTERIAN RISET, TEKNOLOGI, DAN PENDIDIKAN TINGGI
UNIVERSITAS JEMBER
UKM PENALARAN BAHASA INGGRIS
UNIVERSITY STUDENT ENGLISH FORUM (USEF)
Jalan Kalimantan Kompleks PKM Kavling Selatan Nomor 3 Jember 68121
iloveusef@gmail.com USEF UNEJ usefunej iloveusef.wordpress.com

congress organization government family team

jury group army majority* committee

club minority class crowd public

*majority can be singular or plural.

Examples

The majority believes that we are in no danger.


The majority of the students believe him to be innocent.

Examples of collective nouns

The family was elated by the news.


The crowd was wild with excitement.

The following nouns are used to indicate groups of certain animals and are considered singular.

flock of birds, sheep school of fish

herd of cattle pride of lions

pack of dogs

Examples of collective nouns

The flock of birds is circling overhead.


The herd of cattle is breaking away.

Use a singular verb with sums of money, measurements, or periods of time.

Examples

Ten dollars is a high price to pay.


Five years is the maximum sentence for that offense.
Two miles is too much to run in one day.
KEMENTERIAN RISET, TEKNOLOGI, DAN PENDIDIKAN TINGGI
UNIVERSITAS JEMBER
UKM PENALARAN BAHASA INGGRIS
UNIVERSITY STUDENT ENGLISH FORUM (USEF)
Jalan Kalimantan Kompleks PKM Kavling Selatan Nomor 3 Jember 68121
iloveusef@gmail.com USEF UNEJ usefunej iloveusef.wordpress.com

1) A NUMBER OF/THE NUMBER OF

a number of + plural noun + plural verb

Examples

A number of students are going to the calss picnic. (a number of = many)


A number of applicants have already been interviewed.

the number of + plural noun + singular verb


Examples

The number of days in a week is seven.


The number of residents who have been questioned on this matter is quite small.

E. NOUNS THAT ARE ALWAYS PLURAL

The following nouns are always considered plural. In order to speak of them as singular, one must
say a pair of

scissors shorts pants jeans tongs

trousers eyeglasses pliers tweezers

Examples

The pants are in the drawer.


A pair of pants is in the drawer.
The pliers were on the table
The pair of pliers was on the table.

1) THERE IS/THERE ARE

The words here and there are never subjects because they are not nouns. In sentences beginning
with here or there, the true subject follows the verb.

Examples

There are four hurdles to jump.


There is a high hurdle to jump.
KEMENTERIAN RISET, TEKNOLOGI, DAN PENDIDIKAN TINGGI
UNIVERSITAS JEMBER
UKM PENALARAN BAHASA INGGRIS
UNIVERSITY STUDENT ENGLISH FORUM (USEF)
Jalan Kalimantan Kompleks PKM Kavling Selatan Nomor 3 Jember 68121
iloveusef@gmail.com USEF UNEJ usefunej iloveusef.wordpress.com

Sources :

Jerry Bobrow, William Covino. Cliff's TOEFL Preparation Guide

http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar/subjectVerbAgree.asp