‘Subject’ and ‘verb’ are parts of a sentence. ‘Subject’ is a noun or pronoun that tells us what the sentence talks about and ‘verb’ in the sentence represents the action.

What is ‘subject verb agreement/concord’?

Subject verb concord means that the subject and the verb in a sentence should match, else the sentence will not make correct sense. Following are the basic rules of subject-verb concord.

Rule 1

The verb and subject must agree in number (singular or plural)

If the subject is singular, the verb should be singular and in the same way if the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural.

Examples:

He writes an essay daily. (SINGULAR)

They write an essay daily. (PLURAL)

Rule 2

Singular or plural number of subject will not change due to words/phrases in between the subject and the verb. So be careful to find out the number of the particular subject.

Examples:

One of the boys is guilty. (the subject is ‘one’, the verb is ‘is’).

The bunch of ripe grapes looks so beautiful. (Here, ‘bunch’ is the subject and not ‘grapes’ and it is singular)

Rule 3

Subjects that are joined by ‘and’ in a sentence, use a plural verb.

Examples:

Radha and Meera are coming home.

Rule 4

When subjects are joined by ‘either/or’, neither/nor’ then the verb is used according to the second subject.

Neither Akshay nor Rohit is coming home.

Either my dad or my brothers are arriving today.

Rule 5

The verb in a sentence containing ‘or’, ‘either/or’, ‘neither/nor’ agrees with the noun or pronoun closest to it.

Examples:

Neither the shoes nor the bag matches the dress. (Here, ‘bag’ is closest to the verb, hence ‘matches’)

Neither the bag nor the shoes match the dress. (Here, ‘shoes’ is closest to the verb, hence ‘match’)

Rule 6

When the two subjects are joined by ‘along with’, The verb is used according to the first main subject.

Examples:

He along with his parents was going to the market.

Two sisters, along with their brother, were going to school.

Rule 7

In sentences that begin with ‘here’, ‘there’, the true subject usually follows the verb.

Examples:

Here are the chocolates.

There is a big puddle on the road.

Rule 8

In sentences that include sums of money, periods of time or distances etc. (as a unit), use singular verbs.

Examples:

500 rupees is a high price to pay.

62 years is the minimum age of retirement.

10 kilometers is too far to walk.

Rule 9

In the case of words such as ‘a lot of’, all’, ‘some’ etc. in a sentence, pay attention to the noun after ‘of’. If the noun after ‘of’ is singular then use a singular verb, if plural, use a plural verb.

Examples:

All of the cake is gone.

All of the cakes are gone.

A lot of the cake is gone.

A lot of the cakes are gone.

Some of the cake is gone.

Some of the cakes are gone.

Rule 10

In the case of collective nouns such as ‘group, ‘population’, ‘family’, in a sentence, the verb can be singular or plural depending on their use in the sentence.

Examples:

Most of my family is here OR are here.

Half of the population was against the bill OR were against the bill.

Rule 11

Nouns such as ‘mathematics’, ‘civics’, ‘news’ etc. while plural in form, are singular in meaning and use singular verbs.

Examples:

Mathematics is very difficult for some people.

The news is very saddening.

Rule 12

In sentences that express a wish, request or contrary to fact, the word ‘were’ is used instead of ‘was.

Examples:

I wish my sister were here.

Aditya requested that she raise her glass.

Rule 13

When the two subjects are joined with ‘as well as’, the verb is used according to the first subject.

Examples

He as well as his friends was playing cricket.

They as well as their dog were there.

Rule 14

When ‘besides’, ‘not’ etc. come with the main subject, the only main subject is considered and verb is used according to it, and other subjects are ignored.

Besides his parents, he is also going on tour.

He not his parents is going to Delhi.

Solved Examples for You on Subject Verb Concord

Question: Choose the correct subject verb combinations in the sentences below.

The lady in the car (look/looks) like your mother.

Most of the milk (is/are) gone.

One of the flowers (has/have) wilted.

Either Ram or Shyam (is/are) coming today.

Here (is/are) the newspaper.

The group of dancers (is/are) here.

Civics (is/are) my favorite subject.

Solution:

The lady in the car looks like your mother.

Most of the milk is gone.

One of the flowers has wilted.

Either Ram or Shyam is coming today.

Here is the newspaper.

The group of dancers is OR are here.

Civics is my favorite subject.

Exercise: Choose the right option.

1. The captain with his crew was/were drowned.

2. Many a boy is/are doing their work.

3. If you work/ will work hard, you will pass.

4. Each of those mangoes is/ are rotten.

5. Neither he nor I was/were there.

6. Either he or his brother has/have made the mistake.

7. Man and woman is/are complementary to each other.

8. Plenty of mangoes and bananas is/are available in this season.

9. A dictionary and an atlas is/are missing from the library.

10. The leader as well as his brothers belong/belongs to the same tribe.

11. Cats and dogs do/does not get along.

12. The brothers as well as their sister is/are good at their studies.

13. The teacher with his students has/ have gone on a picnic.

14. A lot of houses has/ have collapsed in the storm.

15. The children as well as their mother is/are missing.

16. A large sum of money was/were stolen.

Answers:

  1. Was
  2. Is
  3. Work
  4. Is
  5. Was
  6. Has
  7. Are
  8. are
  9. Are
  10. Belongs
  11. Do
  12. Are
  13. Has
  14. Have
  15. Are
  16. was