Subject - verb agreement ( Concord)

 Look at these examples. 

 A girl wears a skirt.                 (A girl wear….) 
 Girls wear skirts.                     ( Girls wears…..) 
 She/ He has a red balloon.      (She have…./ He have ) 
 They have a red balloon.         (They has….)

In the above examples, a girl, she and he are singular subjects and agree with singular verbs wears and has. Similarly, girls, and they are plural subjects and agree with plural verbs wear and have. 

Singular subjects (he, she, it, a boy, milk, etc) + singular verbs (is, was, has, does, v 5 )

Plural subjects (they, we, you, boys, people, etc) + plural verbs (are, were, have, do,v1).

1. Look at these examples. 
 Singular subjects                               
     (a) He sleeps.           They sleep. 
     (b) A boy was there.        Many boys were there. 
     (c) A child likes chocolates.       Children like chocolates.
     (d) A dog has a tail.            Dogs have tails. 
   Singular subjects take singular verbs and plural subjects take plural verbs. 
2. Look at these examples. 
      Bad news travels fast. 
      Politics is a dirty game. 
      Physics was taught by Mr. Thapa. 
News, physics, politics, innings, measles etc are singular subjects although they look like plural and come with singular verbs (is, was, has, does, v-s/es).
3. Look at these examples. 
      Somebody was in the hall. 
      Nobody has completed the work. 
      Everything is all right. 
Somebody, someone, nobody, nothing, everybody, everything, everyone etc are treated as singular subjects and come with singular verbs (is, was, has, does, v-s/es). However, plural pronouns are usually used in place of them. For example, everybody presented their proposals. 
4. Look at these examples. 
      Every boy and girl was invited in the party. 
      Every man and woman has to work. 
      Each boy meets the principal one by one. 
      Each packet contains fresh juice. 
 Subjects with every or each agree with singular verbs. 
        Each/every + sub …. + sing. verbs

5. Look at these examples 
     There is a suitcase in the apartment. 
     There are suitcases in the apartment. 
     There was a dog in the hall. 
     There were dogs in the hall. 
 If the subject of a sentence is there, it agrees with singular verbs if the noun used after it is singular and it agrees with plural verbs if the noun is plural.
    There + is, was, has, does, v5 + sing. Noun There + are, were, have, do, v1 + plural noun 
6. Look at these examples. 
  One of his friends was walking into the room. 
  Either of his books is torn. 
  Neither of her sisters works in a clinic. 
  Each of my workers has helped me a lot. 

One of, either of, neither of, and each of come with plural nouns and agree with singular verbs (is, was, has, does, v-s/es)

7. Look at these examples. 
 Either a boy or a girl visits the zoo every Saturday. 
 Either a boy or girls visit the zoo every Saturday.
 Neither boys nor girls visit the zoo every Saturday. 

 The subjects with either… or, neither…nor, or etc, agree with the verb according to the second subject.

8. Look at these examples. 
  The number of restaurants in the city is very expensive. 
  In Kathmandu, a number of restaurants are very expensive. 
  The number of boys has failed in maths. 
  A number of boys have failed in maths. 

The number of + plural nouns agrees with singular verbs. A number of + plural nouns agrees with plural verbs. 

9. Look at these examples. 

  More than one girl has drunk milk. 
  More than ten girls have drunk milk. 
  All the books were borrowed from the library. 
  All the milk was spilt over. 
  Some boys do not live with their parents. 
  Some sugar was added in his tea. 
  Most of the notebooks have been checked. 
  Most of the money has been spent. 
  Half of the books contain good poems.
 Half of the book contains good poems. 
  Two third of the guests were having food. 
  Two third of the work was completed. 
 If the determiners more than, all, some, most of, a lot of, half of, a quarter of, two third of, a good deal of, rest of, some of, none of, etc. come with uncountable and singular countable nouns, the subjects are singular and they agree with singular verbs. If these come with plural countable nouns then they agree with plural verbs. 
 10. Look at these examples. 
  A bouquet of flowers was given to each nurse. 
  A series of books was published last year. 
  A team of players has decided to play the next tournament. 
 A bouquet of, a series of, a herd of, a team of, etc come with plural nouns and agrees with singular verbs. 
11. Look at these examples. 
  Ten kilometers is a long distance. 
  Two plus two makes four. 
  Ten thousand rupees is a big amount for me. 
 Certain units, measurements, distance, amounts and arithmetic calculations agree with singular verbs. 
 12. Look at these examples. 
  Slow and steady wins the race. 
  Bread and butter is my favorite food. (if taken as a single meal) 
  His bag and baggage was there. 
 Two nouns giving one single meaning agree with singular verbs. 
 13. Look at these examples. 
  The Police catch thieves. 
  My trousers have been ruined. 
  These goods do not look nice. 
  The cattle are grazing in the field. 
People, public, cattle, poultry, scissors, spectacles, trousers, wages, shorts, goods, thanks etc are plural nouns and agree with plural verbs. 
14. Look at these examples. 
  You as well as I are going to London. 
  The condition of these workers was very bad two years ago. 
  The juice in these packets is fresh.
 The apples in this basket are rotten. 
 In case of the subjects with as well as, of, in, on, with, together with, along with, like, in addition to, etc, the verb agrees with the number of the first subject. 
 15. Look at these examples. 
  The writer and the editor were present in the party. (Different persons) 
  The dancer and the actor are in the room. 
  The writer and editor was present in the party. (Same person with two posts) 
  The dancer and actor is in the room. 
 If and joins two subjects in a sentence, the subject generally agrees with plural verbs but singular verb should be used when there is article only with the first subject. In such case, both the subjects refer to the same person. 


 1. Everybody... ... ... to get success. (want/wants/have wanted) 
 2. All her money... ... ... kept into her pocket. (is/are/have) 
 3. One of his cousins... ... ... from Boston. (comes/come/coming) 
 4. A number of girls... ... ... fighting in school. (was/were/have) 
 5. Five thousand dollars. .. ... ..too much for that bus. (is/are/have) 
 6. Every member of the club... ... ... present today. (is/are/am) 
 7. Five miles... ... ... very long distance. (is/are/were) 
 8. Prerana and Prashant ……… good friends. (is/ are/has) 
 9. She, with her parents, ... . . . . . going to the zoo. (is/are/ have) 
 10. Neither a dog nor a cat ….in the room. (was/were/are) 
 11. All that glitters ………not gold. (is/are/were) 
 12. The manager, with his friends,……arrived at office (have/has/are) 
 13. Bread and butter………..a wholesome food. (is/are/have) 
 14. No news……..good news. . (is/are/have) 
 15. Two and two …………four. (make/makes/will make) 
 16. Good news………..always good for us. (is/are/were) 
 17. Every boy and every girl………….to me carefully.( listens/ listen/ listening) 
 18. One of the arguments…….that the hill was only imaginative.( is/are/have been) 
 19. Rita or Rama ……to me today (come/ comes/ have come) 
 20. Fifty rupees……..nothing to buy anything. (is /are/ have) 
 21. Fifteen kilometers………..not a short distance for a walk in a day (is /are/ have) 
 22. Time and tide…………for none. (wait/ waits/ waited)
23. The crew…………arrived recently.(has/ have/ are) 
 24. Neither he nor she………………anything.(know/ knows/ knows) 
 25. The teacher, together with students,……..presented the paper. ( has/ have/ are) 
 26. People in Nepal……….simple and honest(are/ is / am) 
 27. The number of students in our school……….increasing.( is/ are/ have been) 
 28. Horse and carriage………at the gate.(are/ is/ come) 
 29. Sima as well as her friends………..present today.(is/ am /are) 
 30. More than one boy………..dancing. .(is/ am /are)  

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