English Grammar, First Year Classes & Topics

Grammar. Subject-Verb agreement.

Subject-Verb agreement.

What is the subject-verb agreement?

The general rule of subject-verb is “ to use a plural verb with a plural subject and singular verb

with a singular subject”. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

For eg.   He walks to work.  He singular subject hence the singular verb– walks

            They walk to work. They plural subject hence the plural verb -  walk


When using ‘be’ forms of verbs, the verb is used according to the number and person of the subject. 

The following table shows how the form of‘ be’ works on different pronouns.  






First Person singular



I am waiting for you.

First Person Plural



We are waiting for you.

Second Person singular



You are waiting for him

Second Person plural



They are waiting for him

Third Person singular

He, She, it


He is waiting for you

Third Person plural



They are waiting for him.

Rule 1: Singular subject takes singular verbs, and plural subjects take plural verbs.

Ex.   He comes here on Monday.

        I /We have a younger brother.

       She has a pet dog.

Rule 2: Subjects combined with the conjunction ‘and’ take plural verbs.

Ex. Ram and Laxman are on their way to home.

      The students have completed their homework.

Rule 3: Two singular nouns refer to the same person; the verb must be singular.

Ex: The owner and managing director have come.

Rule 4: When more than one singular noun is joined with ‘or,’ ‘either-or’, neither..nor , the                 subject is considered singular.


Ex. The chairperson or CEO approves the proposal.

Rule 5: When a compound subject contains both a singular and plural noun joined by ’ or’               ‘nor the verb should agree with the subject that is closest to the verb.


Ex: The student or the committee members write every day.

      The committee members or the student writes every day

Rule 6: Words such as ‘each’, ‘each one, ‘either’, ‘neither’, ‘everyone’,‘everybody’,             ‘anyone’, ‘anybody’,‘ nobody’, ‘somebody’, ‘ someone’, and ‘no one’ is singular              hence takes a singular verb.


Ex: 1. Each of the participants was given a certificate.

      2. The college will give prizes to everybody who participates in the competition.

      3. No one was available for the competition.

Rule7: In the sentences beginning with ‘there is’ or ‘there are’ the verb agrees with what

           follows the verb.

Rule7: In the sentences beginning with ‘here’, ‘there is’, or ‘there are’ the verbagrees               with what follows the verb.

Ex:   There is little chance for improvement.

        There are four hurdles to jump.

        Here are the keys.

Rule8: Non-countable and abstract nouns take a singular verb.

Ex:   Honesty is the best policy.

        The information obtained is relevant to the study.

Rule9: Nouns connected by ‘with’, together with ‘as well as’ 

Rule 9: Collective nouns as subject; the verb can be singular or plural based on the                        context.

Ex:   Myfamily is settled in England.

        Thejury has awarded custody to the grandmother.

        Thejury members have been arguing for the last five days.

Rule 10: Interrogative sentences take the help of the helping verbs ‘do’ and ‘be’ and to be 

              aligned with the subject.

Rule 11: Interrogative sentences take the help of the helping verbs ‘do’ and ‘be’ and are to                be aligned with the subject              


Ex:    Do you read novels?

         Is she happy with the new house?

        Were you looking for me?

        Has Karan submitted his project work?