Verb Agreement When Using Singular and Plural

When it comes to writing, verb agreement is one of the most important aspects of grammar that must be followed. Verb agreement refers to the way a verb must match the subject in a sentence in terms of number and person. One of the most common challenges writers face when it comes to verb agreement is knowing whether to use a singular or plural verb. In this article, we will discuss the rules and best practices for verb agreement when using singular and plural.

Singular Subject and Singular Verb

When your subject is singular, the verb that follows must also be singular. For example:

- The dog barks.

- The music is loud.

- The teacher is strict.

In these sentences, the subjects “dog,” “music,” and “teacher” are all singular, and the verbs “barks,” “is,” and “is” match them accordingly.

Plural Subject and Plural Verb

Similarly, when your subject is plural, the verb that follows must also be plural. For example:

- The dogs bark.

- The musicians play together.

- The teachers are strict.

In these sentences, the subjects “dogs,” “musicians,” and “teachers” are all plural, and the verbs “bark,” “play,” and “are” match them.

Subject-Verb Agreement with Collective Nouns

Collective nouns refer to groups of people or things, such as “team,” “family,” and “herd.” When using collective nouns as the subject, it can be challenging to know whether to use a singular or plural verb. The rule of thumb is to consider whether the collective noun is acting as a single unit or as individuals within the group. For example:

- The team plays well together. (Here, the team is acting as a single unit, so “plays” is a singular verb.)

- The family are all different individuals. (Here, the family members are considered as individuals, so “are” is a plural verb.)

Subject-Verb Agreement with Compound Subjects

Compound subjects are formed when two or more subjects are connected by “and.” In these cases, the verb must agree with the number of the compound subject. For example:

- The cat and dog are playing in the yard.

- Sarah and her friends are going to the movies.

Subject-Verb Agreement with Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns such as “everyone,” “anyone,” “someone,” and “nobody” can be tricky when it comes to verb agreement, as they can be singular or plural depending on context. In general, the rule is to use a singular verb with indefinite pronouns. For example:

- Everyone loves a good movie. (Here, “loves” is a singular verb, as “everyone” is a singular pronoun)

In conclusion, proper subject-verb agreement is essential to clear communication and effective writing. By following the rules and best practices for verb agreement when using singular and plural, writers can produce clear, effective writing that engages readers. Remember to pay close attention to the number of your subject and ensure that your verb matches accordingly.