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Commas unit 18

Subject and Verb
Agreement
Unit 18


Unit 18 Subject and Verb Agreement


Singular and Plural Subjects



Subjects and Verbs Separated by
Intervening words



Collective Nouns




Either-Or, Neither-Nor



Special Cases



A Number, The Number



Firm Names

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Singular and Plural Subjects
The subject and verb of a sentence
must agree. If the subject is singular,
the verb must be singular. If the
subject is plural or compound, the verb
must be plural.


The cup is on the table.



The cups are on the table.



The cup and saucer are on the table.

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Tryout Sentences
1.

My brother and sister (was, were) home for
Easter recess.

2.

The student and her parent (is, are) waiting in
the reception room.

3.

Did you know that this company and its
subsidiary (has, have) been considered for a
hostile takeover?

4.

Mr. Corrales and Ms. Baxter (is, are) members
of the same committee.

The author and his publicity agent (has, have)
mapped out a promotional campaign for the
Unit 18
Subject
and Verb Agreement
new
book.
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5.


Subjects and Verbs Separated by
Intervening Words
The agreement of the verb with the
subject should not be affected by
intervening words.


Mr. Salerno, who has three assistants, is
a busy person.



The actor who received the most fan
letters was Rocky Riordan.

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Tryout Sentences
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Hagit Zacour, one of the directors of our
overseas operations, (was, were) just appointed
vice president.
The chef in charge of salads and desserts (is,
are) from France.
My vote, although just one of several hundred,
(is, are) necessary.
Patrice Lytle, who was applauded by hundreds
of screaming, adoring fans, (has, have) returned
for an encore.
The person in charge of repairing the machines
(was, were) ill yesterday.

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Collective Nouns
When a collective noun is the subject of
a sentence, the verb is singular if the
group is being referred to as one unit.
Any personal pronouns referring to the
group are also singular. The verb and
pronouns are plural if members of the
group are being considered separately.


The jury has arrived at a verdict.



The jury have been polled for their
individual votes.

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Tryout Sentences
1.

The electorate (is, are) indicating (its,
their) displeasure at the polls.

2.

My company (is, are) offering to pay for
the education of (its, their) employees.

3.

The law firm (was, were) asked for (its,
their) color preferences for the new
offices.

4.

“This audience (is, are) receptive,” said
the entertainer.

5.

The committee (was, were) polled as to
(its, their) individual votes.

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Either-Or, Neither-Nor
When two or more singular subjects are
joined by or or nor, the verb is singular.
Any pronouns referring to the subjects
are also singular.


Either she or Isako is sure to have her
homework.



Neither Jimmy nor Marilyn knows the
correct answer.

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Tryout Sentences
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Neither my sister nor Angela (has, have)
given me (her, their) opinion.
I am sure that either Billy or his brother (is,
are) not too busy to mow the lawn.
Neither my manager nor her assistant
(places, place) much value in the new design.
Do you think that either Pio or Emily (has,
have) an extra key?
I don’t think that either Miranda or Lawrence
(wants, want) to continue working overtime.

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Special Cases
Use a singular verb when a subject contains
any of these words:
another

every

no one

anybody

everybody

nothing

anyone

everyone

one

anything

everything

somebody

each

neither

someone

either

nobody

something

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Special Cases (cont)


Everyone knows the rules of the game.



Someone from the agency is waiting to
see you.

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Tryout Sentences
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

I hear that no one in the company (has,
have) applied for the available position.
Each person on the tour buses (was, were)
given a special identification badge.
Nobody among the prize-winning chefs
(has, have) ever tried this recipe.
Somebody who lives in one of these three
buildings (is, are) moving.
Apparently no one in the two classes
(knows, know) the correct answer to the
last test question.

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A Number, The Number
When the number is the subject of a
sentence, the verb is singular. When a
number is the subject of a sentence,
the verb is plural.


The number of visitors to the Grand
Canyon is increasing.



A number of my relatives are coming to
our family reunion.

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Tryout Sentences
1.

2.
3.

4.

5.

Unfortunately, the number of members
present (is, are) fewer than a quorum.
A number of my suits (needs, need) cleaning.
Are you surprised that the number of
negative votes (has, have) increased?
A large number of police officers (was, were)
on duty to handle the huge crowds.
This year the number of ball players traded
(seems, seem) to have increased.

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Firm Names
When the subject of a sentence is a
firm name, the verb is singular.
However, if the persons listed within
the firm name are referred to
individually, the verb is plural.


I work for Jacoby and Florio, which is a
law firm.



Brillhart, Cruger, and Harkavy are
arriving here at 9:45 a.m.

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Tryout Sentences
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Miller, Morton, and Merns (has, have) been
a good company for which to work.
Karig, Cooley, and Duarte regularly
(attends, attend) proxy meetings.
Anderson, Barker, Metzenbaum, and Dane
(is, are) on vacation.
Where (is, are) Hargrove, Wohl, and
Tappan located?
I work for Tourette and Eshelman, which
(boasts, boast) of a reputation for integrity.

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