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A Subject and verb

Look at these examples of agreement between the subject (e.g. the window) and the verb (e.g. is).

PLURAL The windows are open.


The door and the window are open. Her eyes were wet. They have got wet. The biscuits taste good. These methods don't work. After a plural noun or they, and after nouns joined by and, we use a plural verb.

The window is open. She was upset. It has been raining. The soup tastes good. This method doesn't work.

After a singular or an uncountable noun and after he, she or it, we use a singular verb.

B Everyone, something, every, all, etc

After everyone, something, nothing, etc, we use a singular verb (see also Unit 103C). Everyone was pleased. Something is wrong.

But compare these examples with every, each and all.

After a phrase with every or each, we use a After all and a plural noun, we use a plural verb,

singular verb.

All the seats have a number.

Every seat has a number.

Each door is a different colour.

C One of, a number of and a lot of

After a number of ..., we normally use a plural verb. A number of questions were asked.

After one of ..., we use a singular verb. One of the photos is missing.

After a lot of ..., the verb agrees with the noun.

Every year a lot of pollution is created, and a lot of trees are cut down.

D Any of, either of, neither of and none of

When a plural noun comes after any of, either of, neither of or none of,

we can use either a singular or a plural verb. Is/Are any of these old maps worth keeping? I wonder if either of those alternatives is/are a good idea. Neither of these cameras works/work properly. None of the plants has/have grown very much.

E An amount + a singular verb

After an amount of money, a distance, a weight or a length of time, we normally use a singular verb.

Eight pounds seems a fair price. A hundred metres isn't far to swim.

Ninety kilos is too heavy for me to lift. Five minutes doesn't seem long to wait. We are talking about the amount as a whole, not the individual pounds or metres.

79 Exercises

1 Subject and verb (A)

Mark and Sarah are in an antique shop. Complete the conversation by choosing the correct form of the verb.

Sarah: This table (►) is/are lovely.

Mark: Yes, the wood (1) is/are beautiful, isn't it?

Sarah: The style and the colour (2) is/are both perfect for what we want.

Mark: These chairs (3) looks/look very stylish, too, but they (4) is/are rather expensive.

Sarah: Can you see if the table (5) has/have got a price on?

Mark: Yes, it has. It says it (6) costs/cost £2,000. That's ridiculous.

Sarah: Don't you think prices (7) has/have gone up recently?

Those tables we saw last month (8) wasn't/weren't so expensive.

2 Everyone, every, etc and phrases with of (B-D)

Vicky has been to a very grand party. She is telling her parents about it. Put in was or were.

I really enjoyed the party. It (►) was wonderful. Each guest (1)…………… welcomed by the hostess in

person. All the rooms (2)…………… crowded with people. Everyone (3)………….. enjoying themselves.

A lot of people (4)……………..... dancing, and a number of people (5)…………swimming in the pool in the

garden. All the people there (6) ................ very smart. One of the guests (7)………….. a TV personality-

the chat show host Guy Shapiro. I didn't know many of the guests. None of my friends (8)………….. there.

3 Agreement (A-D)

The BBC is making a documentary about police work. A policeman is talking about his job. Choose the correct form.

► Every policeman is/are given special training for the job.

1 No two days are the same. Each day is/are different.

2 But the job isn't/aren't as exciting or glamorous as some people think.

3 Not all policemen is/are allowed to carry guns.

4 A number of police officers here works/work with dogs.

5 An officer and his dog has/have to work closely together.

6 One of our jobs is/are to prevent crime happening in the first place.

7 A lot of crime is/are caused by people being careless.

8 Sorry, I have to go now. Someone has/have just reported a robbery.

4 An amount + a singular verb (E)

Combine the questions and answers about travel and holidays into one sentence using is or are.

? Do you know the price of a room? ~ Fifty pounds.
Fifty pounds is the price of a room.

? How many public holidays are there? ~ Ten days in the year.
Ten days in the year are public holidays.


1 Are you going on a long walk? ~ Fifteen miles.

2 Who's travelling on the bus? ~ Eight students.

3 Was someone waiting for the museum to open? ~ Yes, three people.

4 Do you know the baggage allowance? ~ Twenty kilos.

Date: 2014-12-22; view: 1637

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