Essay subjects and verbs

An enormous herd of zebras was thundering towards us. Correct An enormous herd of zebras were thundering towards us. Each of these bottles are cracked. Incorrect Each of these bottles is cracked. My best friend, along with all his family and pets, is moving to Australia. Correct My best friend, along with all his family and pets, are moving to Australia.

Incorrect My best friend, all his family and pets, are moving to Australia. Neither of you is going to the cinema this evening. Correct Neither of you are going to the cinema this evening.

Incorrect Either Spain or Portugal seems like a good place for a holiday. Correct Either Spain or Portugal seem like a good place for a holiday. None of my friends speak German.

Subjects, Verbs, and Objects

Correct None of my friends speaks German. None of the bottles was cracked. Correct None of the bottles were cracked. Plural subject, singular verb. Correct You need to be careful in situations where the subject is a list of things, the last of which is a singular item.

Sentence Subjects

In such cases, the whole list of different items forms the subject and therefore needs a plural verb Warships, yachts, dinghies and a huge aircraft carrier is out on the harbour. Singular subject plural verb.

Regular Verbs

Subject—verb agreement becomes more complicated when using a compound subject. Singular: Either the girls or the boy is going to the game. Plural: Neither the boy nor the girls are going to the game. One common mistake with subject—verb agreement occurs when a parenthetical statement appears between the subject and the verb:.

Subject-Verb Agreement

But when an additional person or thing is mentioned in parentheses or within commas, the verb should always agree with the subject that appears outside of the parenthetical clause. Another potential confusion relates to the use of collective nouns. In American English, these require using a singular verb despite referring to a group of things:.

As usual in English, there are exceptions to the rules above. In the same way, phrases that come between the subject and the verb usually set off with commas, parentheses, or dashes do not contribute to the quantity of the verb:. Even though these words often appear at the beginning of a sentence the traditional position for subjects , when they do so, they do not necessarily operate as a subject.

In cases where here and there function in tandem with the verb to be or one of its conjugates , they are part of the verb phrase rather than part of the subject:. In these cases, the subject of the sentence follows the verb, but still determines the quantity of the verb. They address only the most common areas of confusion. But you might also consider re-composing the sentence according to a different pattern. Often, developing writers try to make their sentences do too much work, a tendency that can cause problems with subject-verb agreement. Before going through a lengthy research process, ask yourself if the sentence in question might be written in a more straightforward manner.

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Rhetoric Rhetorical Appeals Rhetorical Situation. Search WritingCommons. Subject-Verb Agreement. For example: Samantha drove. He was. Mistakes were made. For example: She talks. Singular They talk. Plural Notice that, unlike nouns, regular verbs in the present tense become plural by subtracting the letter s from the end. Singular They watched. Indefinite Pronouns The indefinite pronouns anyone , everyone , someone , no one , everybody , and nobody are always singular, and require singular verbs.

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    Subject/Verb Agreement.

    For example, particulate things, like marbles or slices of bread, are countable, and therefore take plural verbs: All of the marbles roll away. Some of the slices of bread were eaten. Non-particulate things, such as loyalty or air, are not countable, and therefore take singular verbs: All of my loyalty vanishes. Some of the air is gone.