Concord (Subject-Verb Agreement) Quiz

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Subject and Verb Agreement

Subject and Verb Agreement

Subject and verb agreement is essential for constructing sentences that make sense and are grammatically correct. This topic covers the rules and nuances of ensuring that subjects and verbs agree in number (singular or plural).

Basic Rule

The basic rule of subject-verb agreement is that singular subjects take singular verbs, and plural subjects take plural verbs.

The dog barks. (singular subject, singular verb)
The dogs bark. (plural subject, plural verb)

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns such as everyone, someone, each, etc., are usually singular and take a singular verb.

Everyone is invited to the party.
Each of the players has a unique skill.

Compound Subjects

When two subjects are joined by and, they typically take a plural verb. However, if the compound subject refers to a single entity or idea, it takes a singular verb.

The manager and the employees are responsible.
Peanut butter and jelly is my favorite sandwich.

Subjects Joined by Or/Nor

When subjects are joined by or or nor, the verb agrees with the subject closer to it.

Either the teacher or the students are going to the event.
Neither the students nor the teacher is available.

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns (e.g., team, group, jury) can take either a singular or plural verb depending on whether the group is acting as a single unit or as individuals.

The team is winning the game. (acting as a single unit)
The team are arguing among themselves. (acting as individuals)

Measurements and Amounts

Words that indicate portions (e.g., a lot, a majority, some) can be singular or plural depending on the noun they refer to.

A lot of the pie has been eaten.
A lot of the pies have been eaten.

Titles of Books, Movies, and Other Works

Titles of books, movies, and other works are treated as singular and take a singular verb.

“The Chronicles of Narnia” is a popular series.
“The Lord of the Rings” is my favorite book.

Special Cases

Some nouns are always plural and take a plural verb, even though they may refer to a single item or set.

The scissors are on the table.
The pants are too long.

Common Mistakes and Tips

Subject Intervened by Phrases

Do not let intervening phrases between the subject and verb affect the agreement. The verb should agree with the main subject.

The bouquet of flowers is beautiful.
The president, along with his advisors, is attending the meeting.

Compound Subjects with Both Singular and Plural Nouns

When a compound subject contains both singular and plural nouns connected by or or nor, the verb should agree with the part of the subject closest to the verb.

Neither the teacher nor the students are ready.
Either the students or the teacher is presenting today.

Inverted Sentences

In sentences starting with there is/are or here is/are, the verb agrees with the noun that follows it.

There is a book on the table.
There are many books on the table.

Relative Pronouns

The verb should agree with the antecedent of the relative pronoun (e.g., who, which, that).

She is one of the students who have passed the exam.
This is the only one of the reports that is accurate.


Understanding and applying subject-verb agreement rules is crucial for clear and grammatically correct writing. Practice regularly and pay attention to the subject of each sentence to ensure proper agreement.

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