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3.1 Agreement Between Subject and Verb

In the grammatical code of English, a verb must agree with its subject according to whether the subject is singular or plural: a singular subject takes a singular verb; a plural subject takes a plural verb.

When the subject of the sentence includes both singular and plural words, take care to identify the part of the subject that controls the verb. In the following examples, the part of the subject that controls the verb appears in bold letters and the verb is underlined.

i15-exhibit-good

In Example 1, it is not the ‘manufactured goods’ that are drawing crowds but, rather, the ‘exhibition’. Similarly, in Example 2, it is not the ‘breakdown’ or the ‘equipment’ that has not yet been established; it is the ‘reasons’.

Errors of subject-verb agreement are nearly always the result of misidentifying the number (i.e. singular or plural) of the subject. The following are some points to help you in deciding whether to use a singular or plural verb to agree with the subject in particular cases.

 

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