Subject/Verb Agreement


  1. Two or more nouns or pronouns joined by “and” as the subject of a sentence require a plural verb:

Ted Cruz and John Kasich are toast.

  1. Two or more singular nouns or pronouns joined by “or” or “nor” as the subject of a sentence require a singular verb.

Neither Cruz nor Donald Trump has a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning a national election.

  1. If a singular and a plural noun or pronoun are joined by “or” or “nor,” the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is nearer the verb.

Hillary or her supporters are always positive.

Hillary’s supporters or Hillary herself is always positive

  1. Doesn’t is a contraction of “does not” and requires a singular subject. Don’t is a contraction of “do not” and requires a plural subject. .

Bernie doesn’t like to lose.

His supporters don’t like to lose.

  1. A phrase that that comes between the subject and the verb is not part of the subject

One of Trump’s supporters was (not were) mistakenly beaten up.  The subject of this sentence is “one.”

Trump, as well as his supporters, needs counseling.

Bernie’s life, including his childhood years, has been informed by a desire to make a difference.

  1. The words each, each one, either, neither, everyone, everybody, anybody, anyone, nobody, somebody, someone, and no one are always singular and require a singular verb.

Each of Trump’s wives was once a trophy.

Everybody likes Bernie.

Either statement Sarah Palin made is gibberish.

  1. Nouns such as politics, mathematics, mumps, and news require singular verbs.

Mathematics is not Donald’s strong suit.

As an amount of money, the word dollars requires a singular verb, but when it refers to dollars as a physical object, it requires a plural verb.

A million dollars is all Trump had to begin with.

American dollars are used as a currency in many countries

  1. Nouns for things that have two parts such as scissors and trousers require plural verbs.

The scissors are in Ted’s trousers, which are on the bed

  1. In sentences beginning with “there is” or “there are,” the subject follows the verb. Since “there” is not the subject, the verb agrees with what follows.

There are many reasons Republicans are terrified.

There is just one thing they want: to win.

  1. Collective nouns are words that imply more than one person but that are considered singular and take a singular verb, such as: group, team, committee, class, and family.

The party comes together after the hate fest called the primaries.

The Rules Committee decides how to proceed at the convention.

The party has a long history.



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