Subject/Verb Agreement


The rules of Subject-Verb Agreement are about the use of S-endings on either the subject or verb (but not both). Here below are the example of Subject-Verb Agreement. For your information, in each sentence, the group of (black) bold word(s) is the subject and the group of remining word(s) is the predicate. It also is the key word that decides if the verb adds "-s" or not, is in maroon (bold) and all verbs and helping verbs are underlined. 


Count Noun
Singular A computer costs a lot of money.
The kitten is cute.
Plural These chairs are broken.
Those monkeys love climbing.


Non-Count Noun
Verb is always singular. Water is not always clean.
Rice always tastes good.


Group Noun
Singular The football team practices daily.
His class screams when the teacher announces a test.
Plural Two gangs are fighting.
Three teams are competing for first place.


Singular She cries too much.
He eats an apple a day.
It runs on electricity.
Singular (Exception) I like her.
You are a happy person.
Plural We study together often.
They are reading books.


Indefinite Pronoun
Singular Everything is fine with me.
Someone is knocking at the door.
Plural A few of the good books are left.
Some people like chocolate while others like vanilla.
Either Singular or Plural None of his friends is going to the theatre.
Most of his friends love pizza.


Noun Phrase with Adjective
Singular Mary's red pen is out of ink.
This thick book is interesting.
Plural High school boys play football games on Saturdays.
Those cute puppies are barking.


Noun Phrase with Preposition
Singular The cat on the fence is John's.
This folder under the table contains some articles and journals.

Note: The subject is never the noun after the preposition.


The books on the top shelf
are about American history.
The girls in my class are smart.


Clauses with that, who, whom or which
Singular The girl who is sitting across from me is looking at me now.
The newspaper which I need is under the table.
Plural The elephants that walk around the zoo are from Africa.
The children whom Mary loves are orphans.


It is always
considered as Singular
Walking regularly helps us to improve our health.
Eating vegetables and fruit is good for us.


It is always
considered as Singular
To love everyone is a good action.
To make the Dean's List requires a lot of studying.


Subject with "and"
Notice: If you use and to show two subjects, the verb doesn't need an S-ending. Watering the plants and sweeping the floor are John's daily duties.
To read books and to write letters are different skills.
John and Mary have become good friends.


Subject after verb
Singular There has been a car parked there since yesterday.
There is my book on the table.
Plural There are five children playing.
There are three big trees in the yard.


Singular Does she get mad at you often?
Is the puppy yours?
Plural Do they believe you?
Are those books good for our children?


Developed by Koon Wei Ho,
Rachel Mingo, and Ellen Beck

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