Subject-Verb agreement helps us make sure that, grammatically, the verb in a sentence matches the preceding subject. There are a lot of rules that go with subject-verb agreement, but understanding them helps prevent grammatical mistakes.
The basic theme is that a singular verb must match a singular subject, and a plural verb must match a plural subject. Here are some rules that go with subject-verb agreement:
The first one is pretty simple. Singular subjects must have singular verbs. Some singular subjects are house and her. For example, in the sentence:
Stephen Curry is the greatest 3-point shooter of all time.
the subject, Stephen Curry, is singular, so the verb would be singular; in this case, is.
Let’s keep going. If the word of is in a sentence, the subject will always be before of. For example:
That box of chocolates was a great gift.
The subject, coming before the word of, would be box, not chocolates. This makes the corresponding verb singular; thus, the verb used was was.
Moving on. Two singular subjects connected by the words or or neither also use a singular verb.For example:
Either my brother or sister normally takes out the trash.
Because both of the subjects are singular, the verb will be singular, in this case being takes.
However, when two singular subjects are connected with the word and, use a plural verb. For example:
Mike and John both really want to go to the concert.
The two subjects, Mike and John, connected by the word and, require a plural verb, in this case, want.
Certain words that separate the subject are ignored, much like Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. These include along with, as well as, and besides. For example:
Franklin Roosevelt, along with Ronald Reagan, is seen as a transformative president.
The along with is ignored, and the subject, Franklin Roosevelt, requires a singular verb, in this case, is.
Okay, so this part is where it gets a bit confusing! When indicating a portion of something, followed by the word of, the verb must correspond to the verb after the word of. Let’s use an example:
A lot of Americans are disillusioned with the political establishment.
In this case, the verb corresponds to the subject after the word of. So, the verb are corresponds to the plural noun Americans.
Hang in there, we’re almost done.
In sentences beginning with here or there, the subject corresponds to the verb. Example:
There are many challenges of growing up in poverty.
The verb are is plural, so the subject will be plural, in this case, challenges.
Alright, last one.
The words each, nobody, everyone, everybody, anyone, anybody, someone, or somebody are singular and require singular verbs:
Everyone is eager to see President Obama when he visits our school.
The subject, everyone, is singular and the verb, is, is also singular.
Now I know that there are a lot of rules. The key things to remember are that singular subjects require singular verbs, and plural subjects require plural verbs.
If you’ve had the endurance to read the whole thing through, congratulations. For one last test, point out the subject and verb agreement in this last picture: