In a sentence, a verb must agree with its subject in number and person.
Look at the following examples:
1. Sony plays in the field.
2. Sonu and Ranjan play in the field.
3. The cow gives us milk.
4. Cows give us milk.
In sentence 1, the subject Sonu is singular in number and therefore the verb plays is also in the singular form.
In sentence 2, the subject Sonu and Ranjan is plural in number and therefore the verb play is also in the plural form.
In sentences 3 and 4, the same rule applies.
Note: Two or more singular subjects joined by and usually take a plural verb, as is shown in sentence 2.
Look at the following:
1st Person - I am/ have/ do/ was ....
We are/ have/ do/ were ....
Ilnd Person - You are/ have/ do/ were ....
You are/ have/ do/ were ....
IlIrd Person - He, She, It is/ has/ does/ was ....
They are/ have do/ were ....
Look at the following examples:
1. I am going to the market.
2. We are going to the market.
3. The boy laughs loudly.
4. Boys laugh loudly.
5. He is brave.
6. They are brave.
Note: All the verbs in their original form are in plural number, for example, jump, go, come, run, sing, etc. We make them singular by adding –s or –es. For example, jumps, goes, comes, runs, sings, etc.
Can, will, may, must, shall, should, would and ought are used in the same form with both singular and plural subjects.
1. He will go.
2. They will go.
3. He must obey his teacher.
4. They must obey their teacher.
5. The child should not make noise.
6. Children should not make noise.
Had, did and verbs in past tense like sang, drew etc. are used in the same form with singular and plural subjects.
1. I had a toy car.
2. We had a toy car.
3. Shyam did his duty.
4. Shyam and Chandan did their duty.
5. The girl sang sweetly.
6. Girls sang sweetly.
If the subject in the sentence consists of two or more than two singular nouns or pronouns joined by and, it takes a verb in plural form.
1. Tom and John are siblings.
2. Abdul and I were present in the party.
3. Diamond and Ruby are very costly.
4. Rehan, Sumit and Saurabh have gone to the market.
But if the two singular nouns joined by and suggest only one idea, or refer to the same person or thing, the compound subject is considered singular and so the verb used is singular in form.
1. Hammer and sickle is new.
2. Bread and butter is wholesome food.
3. Slow and steady wins the race.
4. The author and scientist is a gentle man.
5. My friend, philosopher and guide helps me all the time.
If two singular subjects in a sentence are joined by or instead of and, the verb is singular in form.
1. Jolly or Saumya is arriving in the evening.
2. Ramesh or Daniel does not want to attend the party.
3. Abdul or Raman has gone to the mall.
Many, both, several, a few take a plural verb.
1. Many cows are grazing in the field.
2. Both the children were absent yesterday.
3. Severa l students have failed in the annual examination.
4. A few policemen have arrived on the spot.
Note: But many a is followed by a verb in the singular.
1. Many a student is absent today.
2. Many a girl has become conscious of her rights.
Each and every take a singular countable noun and a singular verb.
1. Each cow is weak.
2. Every boy has performed well.
3. Each girl is studious.
4. Every country doesn’t have natural resources.
Everyone, someone, nobody, everybody, somebody, no one and each one take singular verb.
1. Everyone is satisfied with me.
2. Someone has come at the door.
3. Nobody was there to help me.
4. Everybody seems to be ambitious.
5. No one is irresponsible here.
6. Each one was worthy of appreciation.
7. Somebody is standing behind the door.
Either of, each of and neither of take plural subject but singular verb.
1. Either of the two boys has come to help me.
2. Each of the boys has done well.
3. Neither of the dresses are new.
4. Either of the students is good.