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Avoid subject verb disagreements

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English language is very simple yet complicated at times. The difficulties arise while using subject verb agreement which modifies English as language. Follow these rules to avoid subject verb disagreements.

Rules

1. When there are two or more subjects in a sentence joined by “and”, then the verb is plural.


Example:

- Boys and girls were fighting.


2. When there are two or more subjects in a sentence joined by “and”, referring to the same person or thing, then the verb remains singular.

Example:

- Drinking and smoking is strictly not allowed here.


3. The words each, anyone, nobody, somebody, someone, each one, either, neither, everyone, everybody, anybody and no one are singular and require a singular verb.

Examples:

- Nobody in this room is dancing.

- Everybody is ready to go to see the movie.

4. Nouns such as news, mathematics, civics, measles, and dollars require singular verbs.

Example:

- Civics is a boring subject.


When dollars is used to indicate the money then a singular verb is used. But when dollars is used as a topic themselves, then a plural verb is used.

Examples:

- 50 dollars is a huge amount.

- Dollars are highly valued in India.

Subject and Verb

5. Collective nouns like team, herd, senate, class, crowd, family etc. take a singular verb.


Example:

- The team is performing very well since last month.

- My family is going for a vacation.

6. Subjects and verbs must agree in number.

Examples:

- The dogs bark when they are hungry.

- The dog barks when he is hungry.

7. Titles of books, novels and movies takes singular verb.

Examples:

- 2 States is a movie which depicts story of Chetan Bhagat’s novel.

- Revolution 2020 is my favourite novel.

8. When a singular subject is joined by "or," "nor," "either . . . or," or "neither . . . nor" then it takes a singular verb.

Examples:

- Take this one or that one.

- Either the man or his wife knows the truth of the matter.

9. When a sentence begins with “there is” or “there are” then the subject follows the verb.

Examples:

- There is only one apple.

- There are many apples.

10. The contraction of doesn’t i.e. does not should be used with a singular subject whereas don’t i.e. do not should be used with a plural subject. The exception to this rule appears in the case of the first person and second person pronouns I and you. With these pronouns, the contraction don't should be used.

Examples:

- He doesn’t like her.

- They don’t like her.

The above examples will provide you the rules for subject verb agreements. It is important to understand the concept as it helps improve your English and improve your communication skills. By joining an online spoken English course, you can further improve your knowledge of grammar.

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-By Chander Madan

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