Subject-Verb Agreement Rules with Explanation

Subject-verb agreement is an essential grammar rule that helps to ensure clarity and coherence in your writing. The rule is simple: a singular subject should have a singular verb, while a plural subject should have a plural verb. However, there are situations where the agreement may become a bit confusing, leading to errors in your writing. In this article, we’ll explore subject-verb agreement rules and provide examples to help you understand them better.

Rule 1: Singular Subjects Take Singular Verbs

A singular subject refers to a person, place, or thing that is singular and takes a singular verb. Examples of singular subjects include:

– The boy sings in the choir.

– The car needs repairs.

– The cat drinks milk.

Rule 2: Plural Subjects Take Plural Verbs

Plural subjects are those that refer to more than one person, place, or thing. The verb used with plural subjects must also be plural. Here are some examples:

– The children play in the park.

– The cars are parked outside.

– The cats sleep all day.

Rule 3: Indefinite Pronouns

When using indefinite pronouns such as anyone, everyone, someone, nobody, everybody, or each, the verb used must be singular. Here are some examples:

– Nobody likes to be criticized.

– Everyone knows the answer.

– Each student is responsible for their own work.

Rule 4: Collective Nouns

Collective nouns refer to a group of people, animals, or things treated as a single entity. Examples include team, family, committee, group, and class. When used as a singular subject, collective nouns take singular verbs. When used as a plural subject, they take plural verbs. Here are some examples:

– The team is playing well.

– The family is going on vacation together.

– The committee has made its decision.

– The group were discussing their plans.

Rule 5: Verb Agreement with Words Like “Either…Or” and “Neither…Nor”

When using words like either…or or neither…nor, the verb agrees with the subject closest to it. Here are some examples:

– Neither he nor I am going to the party.

– Either Susan or her friends are bringing food to the potluck.

Rule 6: Subject-Verb Agreement with “There” and “Here”

When using “there” or “here” as the subject of a sentence, the verb agrees with the noun that follows. Here are some examples:

– There are three books on the shelf.

– Here is the report you requested.

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is an important grammar rule that helps to ensure that your writing is clear and coherent. By following the above rules and examples, you can improve your writing and avoid common errors in subject-verb agreement. Remember, when in doubt, always use a singular verb with a singular subject and a plural verb with a plural subject.