Subject Verb Agreement Hard Examples

Subject-verb agreement is an essential grammar rule that helps you communicate your ideas accurately. It’s a basic principle that ensures that the subject and verb of a sentence agree in number. A singular subject requires a singular verb, whereas a plural subject requires a plural verb. However, there are some hard examples of subject-verb agreement that can be a tricky task for even experienced writers. In this article, we will explore some of these difficult examples and provide tips on how to deal with them effectively.

1. Collective Nouns

Collective nouns refer to groups of people or things, and they can be tricky when it comes to subject-verb agreement. These nouns can be singular or plural depending on the context of the sentence. For example, if you’re referring to a group of people as a single entity, then you should use a singular verb. But if you’re referring to them as individuals, you should use a plural verb. For instance, “The team is on a winning streak” is correct, but “The team are arguing among themselves” is the right choice.

2. Compound Subjects

Compound subjects are made up of two or more nouns that are joined by “and.” When you have a compound subject, it can be difficult to determine whether to use a singular or plural verb. The rule of thumb is that a plural verb should be used when the two or more subjects are separate entities. For example, “John and Jane are going to the movies” uses the plural verb “are” because John and Jane are separate people. But if the two or more subjects are seen as a single entity, a singular verb should be used. For instance, “Fish and chips is a popular dish in the UK.”

3. Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns, such as “everyone” and “anybody,” are singular, and therefore, they should be used with a singular verb. For instance, “Everyone is expected to attend the meeting” is correct, but “Everyone are expected to attend the meeting” is incorrect. However, when using pronouns like “they” and “their,” you should ensure that the plural form is used, even if the antecedent is singular. For example, “Each student should bring their own pen” is correct.

4. Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases are phrases that start with a preposition and usually end with a noun. These phrases can be deceiving, but the rule is always to focus on the subject, not the noun in the prepositional phrase. For example, “The book on the table is mine” uses the singular verb “is” because “book” is the subject, not “table.”

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a crucial grammar rule that writers need to understand. While some examples can be challenging, following the general principles and guidelines can help you overcome this challenge. Remember to consider the context, identify the subject, and pay attention to the form of the verb. With these tips, you can improve your writing and communicate your ideas more effectively.