Subject Verb Agreement CLAT Notes | EduRev

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CLAT : Subject Verb Agreement CLAT Notes | EduRev

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Introduction 

Singular subjects take singular verbs and plural subjects take plural verbs.

If there is more than one noun/pronoun in the subject, you need to work out which one the verb refers to.

This is the head noun and the verb must agree with it. It will not always be the noun or pronoun directly in front of the verb.

  • If two nouns are joined by and you use a plural verb.
  • If two nouns are joined by or or nor, you generally use a singular verb. 
  • Words like each, every and neither take singular verbs.
  • Words like several, many and few take plural verbs.
  • Words like all, most, any and some take a singular verb with non-count nouns, but a plural verb with plural nouns.

Collective nouns like family, community and majority take a singular verb if their focus is on the whole entity. However, they take a plural verb if the focus is on individual members of the entity.

  • Some words appear to be plural but are actually singular, so they take a singular verb (e.g. politics, athletics, news).
  • You cannot make plurals out of some commonly used academic words (e.g. evidence, information).

Rule No 1. Singular subject must have plural verb. 

  • He writes.
  • She plays.

Rule No 2. Plural subject must have singular verb. 

  • They write. 
  • We play.

Rule No 3. Two subjects joined by ‘and’ will always take a plural verb. 

  • The doctor and nurse work together. 

Rule No 4. If two subjects express one idea, use a singular verb.

  • Bread and butter is a wholesome food. 
  • Soup and salad is too light a lunch. 

Rule No 5. Two singular subjects joined by ‘or’ or ‘nor’ will take a singular verb.

  • A doctor or a nurse is working in the hospital. 

Rule No 6. A singular subject and a plural subject joined by ‘or’, ‘either-or’, ‘neither- nor’, ‘none but’, ‘not only but also’; will take a singular or plural verb depending on, which subject is near the verb:

  • Neither Deepak nor his friends are joining the tour. 
  • Neither his friends nor Deepak is joining the tour. 
  • None but the leaders of our country are responsible for this. 

Rule No 7.  If two subjects are joined together by ‘as well as’, ‘with’, ‘along with’, ‘together with’, ‘besides’, ‘in addition to’, ‘and not’, ‘rather than’, the verb will act according to the main subject: 

  • Students as well as the teacher are playing. 
  • He as well as his brothers is sitting there.
  • I as well as he am going out of station for a week.

Rule No 8. Indefinite pronouns such as someone, somebody, no body, one, no one, everyone, everybody, either, neither, etc. always take a singular verb. 

  • Each of my friend calls me once a month. 
  • Each boy and each girl has come.
  • One must tolerate one‘s friend as well as enemy.  

Rule No 9. Indefinite plural pronouns (several, all, few, both and many) always take plural verbs:

  • Both of the books require careful reading. 
  • Several of the fielders regularly run four or five kilometer a day. 

Rule No 10. Title of the books need singular verbs: 

  • ‘Great expectations’ is a good book.
  • Gulliver Travels’ is an interesting book. 

Rule No 11. The subject ‘Many a’ …… is always followed by the singular verb.

  • Many a man was drowned in the sea. 
  • Many a student has not done his home work.

Rule No 12. If the subject is ‘the number of’..…use a singular verb.

  • The number of books is very small
  • The number of boys in this team is ten.

Rule No 13. If the subject begins with ‘A number of’, (A large number of, A Great number of, many) use a plural verb: 

  • A number of books are missing.

Rule No. 14. Some nouns in the plural form represent an amount, a fraction or an element of time (sum, distance, quantity, and time period) are considered singular and hence take singular verbs.

  • Sixty minutes is enough to finish this work.

Choose the correct form of the verb that agrees with the subject.

Example 1: Annie and her brothers (is, are) at school.

Answer - Annie and her brothers are at school.


Example 2: Either my mother or my father (is, are) coming to the meeting.

Answer - Either my mother or my father is coming to the meeting.

Try yourself: The dog or the cats ____ outside.
View Solution

Try yourself:Mathematics (is, are) John's favorite subject, while Civics (is, are) Andrea's favorite subject.
View Solution

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