Best Subject Verb Agreement Examples

Subject Verb Agreement

Subject Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement is essential to making sure that your writing makes sense. Let’s look at some examples so you can better understand how to make your subject and your verb agree. The main problem that happens when subjects and verbs don’t agree, is that there’s a certain number in the subject, but the verb doesn’t agree with that number in the subject.

See what I mean here: “The flies are everywhere.” “Flies” is plural, and “are” as a plural verb as well. That’s why the subject and verb here are going together. That’s a great example of good subject-verb agreement. This next sentence is talking about one fly: “The fly is over here.” Since “fly” is singular, the verb needs to be singular. “Is” is a singular verb, which is why it’s used here.

If we said, “The fly are over here,” that wouldn’t make sense. That’s why we say, “The fly is over here.” This next sentence says, “Everything is in place.” Words like “everything” or “anyone” are words that aren’t very specific. For the cases of subject-verb agreement, we consider words that aren’t specific as being singular. Even though “everything” refers to many things, we still treat as singular, so we use the singular verb “is”.

This next sentence says, “People are here.” “People” is plural, it’s talking about more than one person. The verb needs to be plural as well. That’s why we use the verb “are”. There are some sentences where you’re going to have two subjects. One subject maybe plural and one subject maybe singular.

The question arises: Do I use a singular or plural verb? Well, the answer to that question is: Choose the word that is closest to the verb. If we say, “My grandfather or my parents are going to buy a bike for me,” we would say “are”, because “parents” is closest to “are”, and “parents” as plural, so we use the plural verb “are”. “Grandfather” is also a subject in this sentence. “Grandfather” and “parents” are both subjects, but “Grandfather” is singular, so it doesn’t necessarily agree with this plural verb.

However, we have to choose either a singular verb or a plural verb. It makes the most sense to base the verb off of the subject closest to it. This next sentence is the same sentence as above, just reversed: “My parents or my grandfather is going to buy a bike from me.” Here, we use the singular form of this verb “is”, because “grandfather” is closest to the verb and “Grandfather” is singular. Parents, again, is still plural but it’s farther away from the verb than “grandfather” is.

The important thing is to make sure your subject and verb agree with the number they are referring to. That will help you make your writing easier to understand on the reader’s part.



by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: May 21, 2019