Subject-Verb Agreement


RULE 1 : A verb agrees with its subject in number. 

Singular subjects take singular verbs:

The car stays at the station.
The flower smells good.

RULE 2:  The number of the subject (singular or plural) is not changed by words that come between the subject and the verb.

One of the glasses is broken.

Here subject is singular and Verb (is) also singular, it will not change by words come between the subject and verb.

Focus: Relationship between singular subject and singular verb. 

RULE 3:  Some subjects always take a singular verb even though the meaning may seem plural.

Do remember following subjects always take singular verbs:
each           someone
either         anyone
neither        nobody
     One         somebody
  no one           anybody
  everyone        everybody

Someone in the game was hurt. (not were)
Neither of the men is  working.  (not are)

Everybody (was) asked to remain quiet. 

Nobody in the class (has) the answer.


Rule 4. Two singular subjects connected by or, either/or,  neither/nor require a singular verb.

My aunt or my uncle is arriving by train today.
Neither Juan nor Carmen is available.
Either kamran or salman is helping today with stage decorations.

RULE 5:  Subjects joined by and are plural. Subjects joined by or or Nor take a verb that agrees with the last subject (Singular or Plural).

Atif and Salman are travelling.

Yusra and Farooq are chating. 

He, my friends, and I are not going outside in this weather.

Neither Asma nor Farooq (Singular)  is playing.

Neither Asad nor his friends (Plural) are participating. 

RULE 6.  If the subject is separated from the verb by such words as along with, as well as, besides, not, etc.

Remember: These words and phrases are not part of the subject. Ignore them and use a singular verb when the subject is singular.

The politician, along with the  police man, is expected shortly.
Excitement, as well as nervousness, is  problematic during interview. 


RULE 7. Expressions of time, money, measurement, and weight are usually singular when the amount is considered one unit.

Focus: when these are considered as a unit.

Five miles is too far to walk.
Three years is the maximum punishment for that offense.
Ten dollars is a high price for this stuff

Ten days is  not nearly enough time for test preparation.


RULE 8:  Some nouns, while plural in form, are actually singular in meaning.

Statistics is  an easy subject for some people. (not are)

Your thesis was not submitted on time.

Economics is not a piece of cake.

Interesting news grabs the attention of people.

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