Agreement of the verb with the subject

Singular subjects take singular verbs

A verb must agree with its subject in number and person.

Sometimes due to what is called 'the error of proximity' a verb is made to agree with the nearest noun, and not its proper subject. This practice should be avoided.

Consider the examples given below:

as well as

We use singular verbs with a singular subject followed by 'with' or 'as well as'.

When one of the subjects joined by or or nor is plural, the verb must be plural in number, and the plural subject should be placed nearest to the verb.

When the subjects joined by or or nor are of different persons, the verb agrees with the nearest noun.

It is better to avoid these constructions and to write:

Either, neither etc.

Either, neither, each, everyone and many a must be followed by a singular verb.

Collective nouns

A collective noun can take either a singular or a plural verb. Note that collective nouns are always singular in American English.

Sections in this article

The simple present tense
The present progressive tense
The present perfect tense
The present perfect progressive tense
Present tenses to talk about the future
The simple past tense
The past progressive tense
The past perfect tense
The past perfect progressive tense
Past verb forms with present or future meaning
The simple future tense
The future progressive tense
The future perfect tense

See also

Common mistakes in the use of nouns
Common mistakes in the use of nouns | Exercise 1
Common mistakes in the use of nouns | Exercise 2
Common mistakes in the use of nouns | Exercise 3

More CBSE English Grammar worksheets

Passive voice worksheet | Simple past tense
Passive voice worksheet | Past continuous tense
Passive voice worksheet | Simple future tense
Passive voice worksheet | Future perfect tense


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