15. Collective nouns are usually singular, but may be plural if the members are functioning independently. Watch the pronouns for clues to the singular or plural nature of the subject. Some of these words are
class, team, police, committee, audience, family, faculty, etc.
That classhasits final test on Friday.
The classare working on their individual projects today.
16. Some nouns use the same form for both singular and plural meanings. The pronouns and modifiers with these words will indicate whether they are singular or plural in meaning.
always with s: species, series, etc.
S V S V
That speciesis rare. Those speciesare common.
never with s: sheep, deer, etc.
S V S V
That deeris young. Those deerare old.
Objective: To improve your understanding of rules 15-16 concerning subject-verb agreement.
Directions: Underline the subject of each sentence. If the subject is changeable, circle any clues that tell you whether the subject is singular or plural. Fill in the blank with is or are.
1. The crew ___ asleep in their bunks down in the hold of the ship.
2. Several unusual species of birds ___ found in this area.
3. When a young deer ___ motionless, its coloring will hide it well.
4. The committee ___ ready to made its recommendations public.
5. Both apparatus ___ available for your use.
6. The family ___ fighting among themselves constantly.
7. The fish in the aquarium ___ waiting for their daily feeding.
8. Each of those species of birds ___ common in Texas.
9. All sheep ___ dipped in the spring to kill the parasites.
10. The press ___ requested to show their credentials to the guard.
Rules for Subject-Verb Agreement (continued):
Nationality and Foreign Words
17. Nouns for nationality that end with -ese, -ch, or -sh may be singular or plural depending on their meaning. Some of these words are Chinese, French, English, etc. When the word refers to a language, it takes a singular verb. When the word refers to the people of the country, it takes a plural verb and is preceded by the article the.
S V S V
Frenchis a Romance. The Frenchare romantic people.
S V S V
English is spoken in the U.S. The Englishlove tea.
18. English has borrowed words from other languages. Some of these words have unusual singular and plural forms.
singular (plural) examples
stigma (stigmata), neuroma (neuromata)
criterion (criteria), phenomenon (phenomena)
radius (radii), alumnus (alumni)
alga (algae), vita (vitae)
datum (data), medium (media)
index (indices), appendix (appendices)
basis (bases), crisis(crises)
The algae in the pool are hard to remove.
The radius of the circle is two inches.
Objective: To improve your understanding of rules 17-18 concerning subject-verb agreement.
Directions: Underline the subject and fill in the blank with is or are.
1. Alumni of the university ___ invited to the graduation ceremony.
2. These bacteria ___ being studied by university scientists.
3. English ___ heard all over the world.
4. The Portuguese ___ fortunate to have such a beautiful coastline.
5. Many Vietnamese ___ living in the United Slates.
6. The criteria for promotion __ clearly stated.
7. The appendices __ usually found at the back of a book.
8. Supernatural phenomena __ of great interest to many people.