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1.Do you have compound subjects connected with and? Use a plural verb.
(Manny and Lewis = they)
(Manny and Lewis = they)
(She and I = we)
(She and I = we)
2. Do you have two or more singular
nouns or pronouns connected by or or nor? Use
a singular verb.
Either a police officer or
a firefighter gets
cats out of trees. I forget which one does.
containing both a singular and a plural noun or pronoun
joined by or or nor needs a verb that agrees with the noun (pronoun)
that is nearest to the verb.
the moon nor the stars shine as brightly as the sun. (The
verb shine agrees with the plural stars.)
(The verb shine agrees with the plural stars.)
the stars nor the moon shines
as brightly as the sun. (The verb shines is closest to the singular
(The verb shines is closest to the singular noun moon.)
Jack doesn’t like to work the night shift. (Jack = singular he)
Those men don’t like silver jewelry; they prefer gold (those men =
5. When phrases come between a subject and a verb, keep this in your mind:
verb must agree with the subject, not with a noun or pronoun in the phrase.
The song played by Enoch and Seth
lovely. (song. . . . was--singular)
Our leader, as well as his advisors,
us to be prepared for hard times.
(leader. . .tells—singular)
The authors who wrote that book
famous now. (authors. . .are—plural)
The movie, even with all those big stars, is
terrible. (movie. . .is—singular)
The clowns, including the silent one,
make us laugh. (clowns. .
6. The words
each one, either, neither, everyone, everybody, anybody, anyone, nobody,
somebody, someone, and no one are singular and require a singular
verb. Pay attention to the spelling, too. Each of those words (except
for no one) is written as one word, not two. For example, the word
"everyone" is spelled as one word, not as "every one".
Pay attention to the spelling, too. Each of those words (except for no one) is written as one word, not two. For example, the word "everyone" is spelled as one word, not as "every one".
Someone is snoring in class. (singular)
Everyone knows the truth about the matter. (singular)
7. The relative pronouns (who, whom, which, and that) are either singular or plural, depending on the words to which they refer.
She is a brilliant student
who studies many hours each night.
(She. . .is, studies—singular)
They are brilliant students
who study many
hours each night. (They. . .are, study—plural)
8. Some subjects may look plural, but are
considered singular (civics, mathematics, news, measles, dollars).
Some may look singular, but are considered plural (media, data).
*The news is
broadcast several times a day. (news, is—singular)
my favorite subject in high school. (civics,
The media have often
created false celebrities. (media,
have created—plural. The words "the media" refers to worldwide
communications via newspapers/magazines, internet, television, radio, etc.)
Scientific data confuse the layman. (data, confuse—plural. The singular form of data is datum, meaning one piece of information, but it's not used in conversational English. It may be used in scientific and academic writing.)
*The word "news" is a problem for most people learning English. Never use the
article "a" before "news". Use "the", or no article at all. Example: "I need
news about weather conditions for flying." 'I need news about...' means any
general information at all, not specific news. If you say "I need the
news about weather conditions that was just broadcast on TV five minutes
ago." , that means you need current specific information.
*The word "news" is a problem for most people learning English. Never use the article "a" before "news". Use "the", or no article at all. Example: "I need news about weather conditions for flying." 'I need news about...' means any general information at all, not specific news. If you say "I need the news about weather conditions that was just broadcast on TV five minutes ago." , that means you need current specific information.
Here are more examples:
I just watched the six o'clock news.
Have you heard any news about the election? No, I don't have any news about that, because not all the votes have been counted yet.
I think Harry has some news about the election, because he works for a TV news program.
Harry said, "No, I only have a little bit of news, because people are still voting. I'll have more news in an hour from now."
1) Marla has wonderful news! She passed the TOEFL with a very high mark. 2) That's such good news! I'm sure she's very happy.
His boss gave him very bad news today. The company is closing, and all the employees will have to look for new jobs.
9. Nouns such as scissors, glasses, jeans (as in blue jeans), and shears require plural verbs. (Each item just mentioned has two parts.)
My glasses are dirty. (glasses. .
His jeans have a hole in both knees. (jeans.
. .(pants) have—plural)
10. If a sentence
begins with there is or there are, the
subject follows the verb. The word
is never a subject, so the verb has to agree with what
comes after it.
There is still a doubt
in my mind about him. (doubt
singular subject. Use a singular verb.)
There are more things in the car that have to be brought into the house. (things is plural. Use a plural verb.)
11. Collective nouns (such as
congregation, group, herd, tribe, class,
parliament, and jury) are considered singular and take a singular
the hunting ground every autumn.
The Senate (it) votes to pass a new tax law.
The group of travel agents (it) travels together to Spain every January. *Those agents (plural) are traveling together to France, too.
*The plural verb is used if the individuals in the group are
specifically referred to.
still discussing the details of the case.
(collective = it. Use a singular verb)
arguing about the facts of the case. (individual
members = they. Use a
12. Expressions such as with, together with, including, accompanied by, in addition to, or as well do not change the number of the subject. If the subject is singular, the verb must be singular. If the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural.
Elvis, accompanied by all the musicians in the band,
left the building. (Elvis . .
The cars, including Sophie’s, were given parking tickets. (cars. . .were given—plural)
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