Car – singular
Cars – plural
Verbs don’t follow this pattern, though. Adding an “s” to a verb doesn’t make a plural. Here’s what I mean:
Which one is the singular form and which is the plural form? Here’s a tip for you. Ask yourself which would you use with the word they and which would you use with he or she.
Since he and she are singular pronouns walks is a singular verb. The word they is plural so walk is the plural form.
Here are some more guidelines for subject verb agreement.
1. When two singular subjects are joined by the words or or nor a singular verb is in order.
2. Two singular subjects joined by either/or or neither/nor also need a singular verb.
3. When the word and connects two or more nouns or pronouns, use a plural verb.
4. When a compound subject contains both a singular and a plural noun or pronoun joined by or or nor, the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is nearer the verb.
5. When a phrase comes between the subject and verb, the verb has to agree with the subject, not with the noun or pronoun in the phrase.
6. Since doesn’t is a contraction of does not it should be used with a singular subject.
Don’t is a contraction of do not and requires a plural subject.
7. Each, either, each one, everyone, neither, everybody, anyone, anybody, somebody, nobody, someone, and no one are singular so they need a singular verb.
8. Sentences that begin with there is or there are have the subject following the verb since there is not a subject. Therefore, the verb must agree with what follows it.
Subject verb agreement doesn’t have to riddle your writing with errors. Simply follow the above rules and you’ll cut through a lot of the confusion that comes with getting your subject and verb to agree.
- Reading Skills