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Subject-Verb Agreement: Harmony in Language

Subject-verb agreement is like a musical duet; it ensures that the subject and the verb in a sentence harmonize correctly. Just as singers must match their tones, subjects and verbs must agree in number (singular or plural) to create grammatically correct sentences.

Key Concepts:

  1. Singular Subjects and Singular Verbs:

  2. When the subject of a sentence is singular, the verb must also be singular.

    • The cat jumps over the fence.
    • She plays the piano every day.

  3. Plural Subjects and Plural Verbs:

  4. When the subject of a sentence is plural, the verb must also be plural.

    • The cats jump over the fence.
    • They play soccer on weekends.

  5. Collective Nouns:

  6. Collective nouns refer to a group of individuals, but they can take either a singular or plural verb depending on the context. If the group is seen as a single entity, a singular verb is used. If the focus is on individual members of the group, a plural verb is used.

    • The team is winning the match. (Singular verb, treating the team as a single unit)
    • The team are celebrating their victory. (Plural verb, focusing on individual players)

  7. Indefinite Pronouns:

  8. Indefinite pronouns (e.g., everyone, somebody, nobody) are considered singular, and therefore, they require singular verbs.

    • Everybody wants to be successful.
    • Nobody knows the answer.

  9. Compound Subjects:

  10. When two or more subjects are connected by “and,” they form a compound subject, and a plural verb is used.

    • Tom and Jerry are good friends.
    • Apples and oranges are fruits.

  11. Subject-Verb Agreement with “Or” and “Nor”:

  12. When the subjects are connected by “or” or “nor,” the verb agrees with the subject closest to it.

    • Neither the cat nor the dogs are allowed inside.
    • Either the manager or the employees is responsible for the project.
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