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English Grammar Tips for Subject-Verb Agreement

Part of the English Grammar For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Someone or something must be present in a sentence, and that someone or something doing the action or being talked about is the subject. Verbs are the words that express the action the subject is doing or the state of being the subject is in. Subjects and verbs must agree if you’re going to get your point across as clearly as possible. Otherwise, you end up with an incomplete sentence or a sentence that makes no sense.

  • Match singular subjects with singular verbs, plural subjects with plural verbs (I run, she runs, they run).

  • Amounts of time and money are usually singular (ten dollars is).

  • Either/or and neither/nor: Match the verb to the closest subject (neither the boys nor the girl is).

  • Either and neither, without their partners or and nor, always take a singular verb (either of the apples is).

  • All subjects preceded by each and every take a singular verb (each CD is mine; every one of the cheeses is different).

  • Both, few, several, and many are always plural (both/many are qualified; few want the job; several were hired).

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