Subject-Verb Agreement


Remember, if the subject is singular (excluding I and You), put an –s or –es on the verb.



one dog wags                                           three dogs wag



Various Rules:

1.      Words between the Subject and the Verb


          This usually involves eliminating prepositional      phrases.     Look for the list of prepositional phrases in your       book.





          One of the boys (like, likes) to eat spinach with bananas.





Special prepositional phrases:


As well as . . . ., Together with . . . , Along with. . . .



               The man, as well as his wife, (is, are) going on       vacation.





















2.      Verbs before Subjects


          There are exceptions when the verb is in front of the



          EXCEPTION: Beginning with “here” or “there”


                   There is a bird in the room.

                   There are two birds in the room.


          EXCEPTION:   Asking a question


                   Is he correct?

                   Why are they running?


          EXCEPTION:   Beginning with a prepositional phrase



                   In the desk is the key.

                   In the desk are the keys.


          EXCEPTION:   Beginning with an –ing word (sometimes)


                   Walking to the car are the kids.

                   Walking to the car is the child.



3.      Compound Subjects


          There are two kinds of compound situations.


          USING “AND”:          This makes a plural subject.

                                                There is no –s on the verb.


                   EXAMPLE:      The man and his daughter like



                                                Walking down the street on that                                                          dark night were Peter and his
















USING “OR” or NOR”:     Think ignore.


                                                The verb agrees with the subject

                                                CLOSER to it.


                   EXAMPLE:      Either the father OR his daughters

                                                win the prize.

                                                Either the daughters OR the father

                                                wins the prize.

                                                Neither the students NOR their

                                                teacher is correct.

                                                Neither the teacher NOR the                                                                students are correct.















4.      Indefinite Pronouns


          Most end in –one, -body or –thing

          Others are the words each, either and neither.


          THESE WORDS ARE SINGULAR (Add –s or –es to



          The word BOTH is plural (no –s on verb).


          EXAMPLES:    Each of the students is correct.

                                      Neither of the boys feels well.




                   These words can be singular or plural, depending on

                   the sentence.


                   EXAMPLES:    Some of the cake is missing.

                                                Some of the slices are missing.


5.      Relative Pronouns: Who, Which, and That


          Decide which word the relative pronoun refers to.


                   EXAMPLES:    She is the one who comes in late.

                                                Here are the reports that were




Money = singular


Every NOUN and NOUN = singular (-s on verb)

Each NOUN and NOUN = singular (-s on verb)








QUIZ:  Fix the verb.  Make it agree with the subject in the present tense.


          The plinky of the sneels plunk the schoom.




          The blootum of the yourlies vrick the wop.