Thursday, December 16, 2010

Subject-Verb Agreement: Rules and Exercise

[S/V Agreement]

Here are some important rules for Subject-Verb (S/V) Agreement.

- A verb must agree in number with its subject:
  • Stress is a difficult word to define.
- Words that come between the subject and the verb are not part of the subject:
  • A person with anxiety and fears rarely has severe mental illness.
- When the subjects are joined by neither...nor, either...or, not only...but also, the verb agrees with the subject that is closer.

- Subjects joined by and are usually plural. However, when each or every comes before singular subjects joined by and, a singular verb is used:
  • Every father and mother likes to know what their kids are doing.
- There, here and where are not subjects. In sentences beginning with these words, the subject follows the verb:
  • Here is the information you wanted.
- A singular verb is used with words like the following when they are used as subjects:
  • Everyone, someone, anyone, no one, everybody, somebody, etc.
  • Each, either, neither.
- A singular verb is used with subjects that state an amount (for example, of money, time, or distance):
  • Two hundred kilometers is a long distance to be walked.
- A singular verb is used with subjects that are plural in form but singular in meaning:
  • Mathematics is too difficult to be understood by most kids.
- Use singular verbs when abstract nouns such as news, politics, etc. are the subject.

- A singular verb is used with collective nouns (group, family, team, police, committee, class). However, if the speaker is thinking in terms of the individuals that make up the group, a plural verb is used.

Underline the subjects in each sentence. Then, choose the correct verb(s) to complete the sentence.

1. Dizziness, as well as other symptoms, cause/causes great concern to the anxious person.
2. Neither his parents, nor his wife is/are able to help him cope with his problems.
3. Not only Anne but also her brothers suffer/suffers from claustrophobia.
4. Anxiety and fear is/are normal human emotions.
5. Every doctor and patient need/needs to identify what is causing stress.
6. Here is/are the books you wanted.
7. Nobody, not even the most well-known futurists, know/knows what the future will be like.
8. Seventy thousand dollars is/are how much the average car will cost in 2019.
9. Physics has/have played an important role in the development of modern technology.
10. The committee is/are looking into hoe to prevent the spread of the disease.
11. The committee is/are meeting today. I saw them enter the room a short time ago.
12. Statistics shows/show us that the crime rate is increasing in this area.
13. The class has/have completed more than half of the book.
14. The news is/are good: by 2030, world hunger should be eliminated.
15. Each of us has/have three basic negative emotion: fear, anger and depression.

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