Subject Verb Agreement Questions with Solutions

Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of grammar that often poses challenges for many writers. It refers to the agreement between the subject and verb in a sentence, which means that a singular subject requires a singular verb, and a plural subject needs a plural verb. The correct usage of subject-verb agreement is essential to ensure clarity and coherence in writing. In this article, we will discuss some common subject-verb agreement questions and provide practical solutions.

1. What is the rule for subject-verb agreement in compound subjects?

When a sentence has a compound subject, it means that there are two or more subjects joined by a conjunction. The rule for subject-verb agreement in compound subjects is straightforward. If the subjects are joined by «and,» the verb should be plural. For example, «Tom and Jerry are going to the mall.» However, if the subjects are joined by «or» or «nor,» the verb should agree with the subject which is closest. For instance, «Neither the cat nor the dog is happy.»

2. How do you determine the subject of a sentence with inverted word order?

In some sentences, the subject comes after the verb or in the middle of the sentence. This is often seen in sentences that begin with an adverbial phrase or a question word. To determine the subject of such sentences, you need to look for the noun or pronoun that performs the action in the sentence. For example, «In the garden, the birds chirp loudly.» Here, the subject is «the birds.» Another example is «What is the time?» Here, the subject is «what.»

3. Which verb should you use when the subject is indefinite?

An indefinite subject is one that does not refer to a specific person, thing, or entity. In such cases, the verb should be in the singular form. For example, «Somebody is knocking at the door.» Here, the subject is «Somebody,» which is an indefinite noun, and the verb «is» is singular.

4. How do you handle subject-verb agreement in sentences with collective nouns?

A collective noun refers to a group of individuals, animals, or objects that are considered as a single entity. Examples of collective nouns include team, family, herd, flock, and audience. When a collective noun is the subject of a sentence, the verb should be singular if the group is considered as a whole. For example, «The audience is enjoying the concert.» However, if the members of the group are acting individually, the verb should be plural. For example, «The family are all going on vacation.»

5. What should you do if the subject is separated from the verb by a phrase or clause?

When a subject is separated from the verb by a phrase or clause, it can sometimes be tricky to figure out the correct verb to use. However, the rule of thumb is to always make the verb agree with the subject, regardless of any intervening words. For example, «The book that I read last night, was exciting.» Here, the correct sentence should be «The book that I read last night was exciting.» The phrase «that I read last night» should not affect the subject-verb agreement.

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of grammar that every writer must master to ensure effective communication. By understanding the basic rules and applying practical solutions to common questions, you can improve your writing and avoid common mistakes. With consistent practice, you can become a proficient writer who can easily handle subject-verb agreement questions.