Subjects and verbs must agree in number. Singular subjects use verbs with singular endings (e.g. the dog barks; the teacher says). Plural subjects use verbs with plural endings (e.g. the dogs bark; the teachers say). The verb usually follows immediately after the subject; however, extra care should be taken in the following cases:
- Subject and verb are separated
- Subject has two or more parts (compound subject)
- Subject comes after the verb
- Subject is connected by ‘or’, ‘nor’, ‘either … or’, ‘neither … nor’ words
- Subject is a special type of pronoun
- Subject is a collective noun or non-count noun
Sometimes, the subject of the sentence is separated from the verb by a word group. You need to find the verb and ask ‘who’ or ‘what’ is doing the action. The noun closest to the verb can sometimes look like the subject, but it’s not.
Heavy snow, together with high winds, makes skiing conditions dangerous.
The weather in mountainous regions is treacherous during the winter.Storms that occur during winter cause deep snow drifts.
There is a campsite in the national park.
Here are the national park camping facilities.
Neither the woman nor the child is out of danger.
When you use the pronouns ‘each’, ‘either’, ‘neither’, ‘another’, ‘anyone’, ‘anybody’, ‘anything’, ‘someone’, ‘somebody’, ‘something’, ‘one’, ‘everyone’, ‘everybody’, ‘everything’, ‘no one’, ‘nobody’, ‘nothing’, use a singular verb.
Check your understanding