Three Rules for Agreement of the Verb with the Subject

In the English language, subject-verb agreement is crucial for maintaining proper sentence structure and ensuring clarity in communication. This article will highlight three important rules for achieving agreement between the subject and the verb, along with examples to illustrate their application.

Rule 1: Singular subjects take singular verbs

When the subject of a sentence is singular, the verb that follows must also be in the singular form. For instance, in the sentence “The cat jumps over the fence,” the singular subject “cat” is paired with the singular verb “jumps.”

Rule 2: Plural subjects take plural verbs

Conversely, when the subject is plural, the verb must be in the plural form. For example, in the sentence “The dogs chase the ball,” the plural subject “dogs” is matched with the plural verb “chase.”

Rule 3: Special cases with collective nouns and indefinite pronouns

There are certain exceptions to the general rules of subject-verb agreement. Collective nouns, such as “team” or “group,” can be treated as singular or plural based on context. For instance, “The team is practicing” (singular) versus “The team are arguing” (plural).

Indefinite pronouns, like “everyone” or “nobody,” are always treated as singular subjects, even though their meanings suggest multiple individuals. An example includes “Everybody wants to succeed.”

Understanding and applying these rules is essential for constructing grammatically correct sentences. By ensuring subject-verb agreement, writers can convey their thoughts accurately and effectively.