Agreement of The Verb with The Subject :
A Finite Verb must be in the same Number and Person as its Subject.
Two Singular Nouns with Plural Verb
: Agreement of The Verb with The Subject
Two or more singular Nouns, when they are joined by AND, require a Verb in the Plural.
1. A man and his wife have come here asking for work.
2. Your car and mine are both at the door.
3. Time and tide wait for no man.
To this rule there are two exceptions.
If the two Nouns joined by AND refer to the same person or thing, the Verb is Singular
and not Plural.
1. The great scholar and poet is dead.
Here scholar and poet refer to the same man and the sentence might have been written.
2. The man, who was a great scholar and a great poet, is dead.
When the Article is mentioned only once, as in the great scholar and poet, it stands for both the Nouns. This shows that only one person (and not two) is intended and that hence the Verb must be Singular.
But if the Article is mentioned twice, as in the scholar and the poet, then two distinct persons are intended and the Verb following must be in the Plural Number.
3. The scholar and the poet are dead.
If the two Nouns joined by AND are regarded as denoting a single object or notion, the Verb is Singular.
4. Truth and honesty is the best policy.
5. Curry and rice was his favourite food.
6. Slow and steady wins the race.
Here TRUTH and HONESTY means the practice of truth and honesty and hence the Verb following is Singular.
Similarly, CURRY and RICE means the food consisting of curry and rice or the mixture of curry and rice.
SLOW and STEADY means the plan of being slow and steady.
When two or more Singular Subjects are connected by OR, NOR, EITHER...OR, NEITHER...NOR, the Verb is Singular.
1. Either James or John is to be promoted.
2. Neither the man nor his wife has done much work.
3. No boy or girl is allowed to play in school.
When one of the Subjects connected by OR or NOR is Singular and the other Plural, the
Plural Subject should be placed next to the Verb so as to make the Verb Plural.
1. Neither the cock nor the hens are in the yard.
When the Subjects connected by OR or NOR are of different persons, the Verb agrees in
person with the Subject nearest to it.
2. Either James or I am at the top of the class.
3. Either you or James has done it.
4. Neither James nor you were present.
It would be better, however, to repeat the Verb for each Subject. The sentences would then be rewritten as follows.
1. Either James is at the top of the class or I am.
2. Either you have done it or James has.
3. James was not present nor were you.
When two or more Singular Subjects are connected by AS WELL AS, the Verb is Singular.
1. The horse as well as the rider was hurt by the fall.
2. This horse as well as that one is for sale.
When the Subjects connected by AS WELL AS differ in Number or Person or both, the Verb takes the Number and Person of the Subject that stands first.
(i) My partners as well as I were ruined.
(ii) He as well as you is tired of the whole affair.
These sentences might be rewritten as follows, the Verb being mentioned twice, once for each Subject.
(i) I was ruined and so were my partners.
(ii) You are tired of the whole affair and so is he.
Words joined to a Singular Subject by “with, together with, in addition to” take a
1. The mother, with her two children, is standing outside.
2. Industry, in addition to ability, is needed for success.
3. The book, together with the invoice, is enclosed.
Two Singulars connected by NOT ONLY....BUT ALSO :
When two Singular Subjects are connected by NOT ONLY....BUT ALSO or BUT, the Verb is Singular.
1. Not only England, but also the world feels the loss.
2. Not only silver, but also gold is mined in this country.
If the two Subjects differ from each other in Number or Person or both, the Verb takes the Number and Person of the Subject that stands last.
1. Not only he but his servants were blamed for the accident.
Such a sentence might be rewritten as follows, the Verb being mentioned twice, once for each Subject.
2. He was blamed for the accident and so were his servants.
EACH & EVERY and EITHER & NEITHER
The Noun following these Adjectives is always Singular and therefore the Verb
following such a Noun must be Singular also.
3. Each of them was presented with a gold watch.
4. Every bush and every tree was in bud.
5. Each of my brothers has made a good start in life.
6. Every one of the boys was in the playground.
7. Neither of these men has been here before.
8. Either of these novels is worth reading.
When the Subject of the Verb is a Relative Pronoun, the Verb agrees in Number and Person with the Antecedent of the Relative.
1. I, who am your king, will lead you.
2. You, who are my friend, should guide me.
3. He, who is my friend, should help me.
4. He is one of the best leaders that have ever lived.
5. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
A Plural Noun, when it represents a single quantity or mass or when it is the title of a book, is followed by a Singular Verb.
1. The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is a fine book.
2. The United States of America has a big army.
3. Seven hundred rupees a month is a good income.
4. Sixty miles is a long distance.
RELATED PAGES :
- The Verb
- The Auxiliary Verbs
- Subject-Verb Agreement - 1
- Subject-Verb Agreement - 2
- The English Verb
- Basic Form of The Verb
- Principal Parts of A Verb
- Non-finite Form of The Verb
- The Intensive Forms of English Verbs
- Verbal Idioms
- Confusing Verbs
- Agreement of The Verb with The Subject
- Sentences with Agreement of The Verb with The Subject
- Two Auxiliaries with One Principal Verb
- One Auxiliary with Two Principal Verbs
- Words Used as Verbs
- Intransitive Verb of Complete Predication
- Intransitive Verb of Incomplete Predication
- Defective Verbs
- Strong Verbs
- Tests of A Strong Verb
- Wholly Strong Strong Verbs
- Partly Strong Strong Verbs
- List of Strong Verbs
- Weak Verbs
- Tests of A Weak Verb
- List of Weak Verbs
- Mixed Verbs
- Strong Verbs Becoming Partly Weak Verbs
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