20 Rules of Subject Verb Agreement.

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  • Topic: Pronoun, Indefinite pronoun, Grammatical number
  • Pages : 2 (555 words )
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  • Published : January 12, 2013
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1. Use verbs that agree with a subject, not with a noun that is part of a modifying phrase or clause between verb and subject: “The pot of eggs is boiling on the stove.”
2. Use singular or plural verbs that agree with the subject, not with the complement of the subject: “My favorite type of movie is comedies,” but “Comedies are my favorite type of movie.” 3. Use singular verbs with singular indefinite pronouns — each, the “-bodies,” “-ones,” and “-things” (anybody, everyone, nothing), and the like: “Neither is correct.” (And, just as in rule number 1, the presence of a modifier is irrelevant: “Neither of them is correct.”) 4. Use plural verbs with plural indefinite pronouns:

“Many outcomes are possible.”
5. Use singular verbs with uncountable nouns that follow an indefinite pronoun: “All the paint is dried up.”
6. Use plural verbs with countable nouns that follow an indefinite pronoun: “All the nails are spilled on the floor.”
7. Use plural verbs with compound subjects that include and: “The dog and the cat are outside.”
8. Use plural verbs or singular verbs, depending on the form of the noun nearest the verb, with compound subjects that include nor or or: “Either the dog or the cats are responsible for the mess.” (“Either the cats or the dog is responsible for the mess” is also technically correct but is awkward.) 9. Use singular verbs with inverted subjects that include singular nouns: “Why is my hat outside in the rain?”

10. Use plural verbs with inverted subjects (those beginning with the expletive there rather than the actual subject) that include plural nouns: “There are several hats outside in the rain.”
11. Use singular or plural verbs with collective nouns depending on meaning: “His staff is assembled,” but “Staff are asked to go to the conference room immediately.” (In the first sentence, the emphasis is on the body of employees; in the second sentence, the focus is on compliance by each individual in the body of employees.) 12. Use singular...
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