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Unusual Singular Subjects


Rules for Subject-Verb Agreement:

Singular Subjects


1. When the following words are used as subjects, they are always singular. Some of these words are plural in meaning, but they always require singular verbs.


everyone someone anyone no one each

everybody somebody anybody nobody either

everything something anything nothing neither



Everyoneis here.



Neither of these books is very new.


2. When each or every comes before singular subjects joined by and, a singular verb is required.



Every man and womanis eligible to vote.



Each student and teacher has a locker.



3. Introductory it is singular and always followed by a singular verb.



Itwas the dogs which awakened me.


Exercise 1


Questions 1-5

Directions: Underline the subject of the missing verb, and fill in the blank with was and were.


1. In World War II, it ____ the men who served in combat roles.

2. Neither of the reporters ____ allowed to interview the players.

3. Everyone ____ required to write a composition.

4. Every man, woman, and child ____ given a free ticket.

5. Everything in the house ____ destroyed by the fire.

Questions 6-10

Directions: Underline the subjects and the verbs. Put a check ( ) beside correct sentences and an X beside incorrect sentences.


6. Each fruit and vegetable were organically grown.

7. Everyone have to arrive at 8:30 in the morning.

8. It was the children who broke the windows.

9. Everything in the house is for sale.

10. Every student want to pass the TOEFL.

Rules for Subject-Verb Agreement (continued)


4. Words that come between a subject and its verb do not change the number of the subject. Prepositional phrases often have this position.


S together with V

The man in addition to his ten children is leaving soon.

along with

as well as




Everyone except him has a book.



The teacher along with her students is viewing a film.



One of the most enjoyable parties was given by Helen.


5. There, here, and where are never subjects (except in a sentence like this one!). When a sentence begins with one of these words, the subject comes after the verb.



There are no dogs in this neighborhood.



Here are the results of the experiments.

Exercise 2

Questions 1-5

Directions: Underline the subject of each missing verb. Fill in the blank with has or have.


1. Wallpaper in addition to new curtains ___ been ordered.

2. There ____ been no new discoveries in that field.

3. Algeria as well as Tunisia and Libya ____ sent students to the United States.

4. Where ____ everyone gone?

5. John but not Mike ____ gone to play soccer at the park.

Questions 6-10

Directions: Underline the subjects and the verbs. Put a check ( ) beside correct sentences and an X beside incorrect sentences.

6. There has never been so many joggers in the race.

7. A box of books as well as a large suitcase are under the bed.

8. The president together with his assistants has left for Washington.

9. Here is the music as well as the words to the song.

10. Everyone in the two classes speak English very well.



Rules for Subject-Verb Agreement (continued):

Plural Subjects


6. Subjects joined by and or both ... and ... take a plural verb (but see Rule 2).



A red Honda and a blue Fordare parked outside.



Both tigers and elephantsare becoming extinct.



7. Several, many, both, few are plural words and always take a plural verb.



Bothare going to attend the University of Texas.



Only a fewhave passed the exam.


8. Some nouns are always plural in form and always take plural verbs.


clothes: trousers, pants, jeans, sunglasses.

tools: scissors, pliers, tweezers

abstract: riches, thanks, means


However, some of them are followed by a singular verb when used in expressions such as

a pair of …, a word of ...


His pantsare still at the cleaners, but: That pair of pants is dirty.



Your thanksare enough for me. but: A word of thanks is enough.


Exercise 3

Objective: To improve your understanding of rules 6-8 concerning subject-verb agreement.


Questions 1-5

Directions: Underline the subject of the missing verb. Fill in the blank with is or are.

1. Few ___ strong enough to finish the race.

2. There ___ a pair of sunglasses lying on the floor.

3. Both my good trousers and my old Jeans ___ at the laundry.

4. Many of you ___ going to score above 500 on the TOEFL.

5. There ___ several on the top shelf of the bookcase.

Questions 6-10

Directions: Underline the subjects and the verbs. Put a check ( ) beside correct sentences and an X beside incorrect sentences.

6. That pair of Dior sunglasses must have cost a lot of money.

7. When the bell rang, a few were still working on the test.

8. The screwdriver along with the pliers were left out in the rain.

9. Several of the fish appears to be dying.

10. The scissors is in the bottom drawer.

Rules for Subject-Verb Agreement (continued):



9. When subjects are joined by the following structures, the verb must agree with the closer subject.


S1 S2 V

Neither the students nor the teacheris allowed to smoke.


S1 S2 V

Either the teacher or the studentshave your books.


S1 S2 V

Not only the nurses but also the doctoris coming soon.


10. Many words may be singular or plural depending on what they refer to:

None, all, some, any, majority, most, half, etc.

When these words are followed by a prepositional phrase, the number of the object of the preposition will determine whether the words are singular or plural.



All of the book has been destroyed.


11. The expression a number of is plural, and the expression the number of is singular.



A number of students were missing from class.



The number of Mexican students in class is small.

Exercise 4

Objective: To improve your understanding of rules 9-11 concerning subject-verb agreement.

Directions: Underline the subject of the missing verb and fill in the blank with is or are.


1. Neither the doctor nor the nurses ___ here.

2. The number of nurses in the city ___ very large.

3. All of the nurses ___ very good.

4. All of the medicine ___ gone.

5. Some of the water ___ used for irrigation.

6. Most of the money ___ counterfeit.

7. Not only the money but also the jewels ___ locked up in the safe.

8. Neither the jewels nor the money ___ mine.

9. All of the cookies ___ gone.

10. Half of the furniture ___ in the truck.



Rules for Subject-Verb Agreement (continued):

Unusual Singular Subjects


12. Expressions stating one amount of time, money, weight, volume, etc. are plural in form but take a singular verb.


Two weeksis enough time for a nice vacation.


Five hundred dollarsis required as a down payment.



Ten extra poundsis a lot to lose in a week.



Twenty gallons of gasoline costs a lot of money.


13. Some words are always plural in form but singular in meaning. These words require singular verbs.


academic subjects: mathematics, physics, economics, statistics, civics...

diseases: measles, mumps, herpes...

abstract nouns: news, ethics, politics...



Mathematicsis a difficult subject.



The newswas very good.


14. Titles of books and movies, even if plural in form, take singular verbs.


The New York Times is a good newspaper.



Star Wars was a good movie.

Exercise 5

Objective: To improve your understanding of rules 12-14 con­cerning subject-verb agreement.

Directions: Underline the subjects and verbs in each sentence.

Put a check ( ) beside correct sentences and an X beside incorrect sentences.


1. German measles cause red spots on the chest and arms.

2. News of the peace talks has not yet reached the island.

3. Politics usually attract ambitious individuals.

4. There were extra copies of The New York Times in all the offices.

5. Two weeks are ample time for a camping trip to the state park.

6. According to the champion, one hundred pounds are easy to lift.

7. Two thousand dollars is a lot for him to pay for tuition.

8. Both mathematics and physics are interesting.

9. Jaws, a movie about sharks, was seen by a record number of people.

10. Mumps cause inflammation and swelling of the glands.


Rules for Subject-Verb Agreement (continued):

Date: 2016-01-14; view: 2888

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