Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise with Explanation – Free Pdf

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subject-verb agreement rules

One of the basic rules of English grammar is that the verb should agree with the subject in number (singular or plural) and in-person (first—I, me, we; second— you; third—he, she, it, they). This is unproblematic for most native speakers and writers in most instances, but there are several situations in which the subject-verb relationship may be unclear or confusing. In those cases, the writer may need to study—or even memorize— the following guidelines:

Subject-verb agreement rules


Simple Rule Subject And verb Agreement In Urdu

A common error in writing is subject-verb agreement. If your subject is singular, your verb must also be in the singular form. Likewise, if your subject is plural, its corresponding verb must also be plural.

Rule 01

if Subject is singular then verb must also be in the Singular Form

Ager subject singular hai toh us ka verb bhi singular hona chahye

if your subject is plural, its corresponding verb must also be plural

Ager subject plural hai toh us ka verb bhi plural hona chahye 

subject verb agreement nouns ending in s
subject verb agreement nouns ending in s


This rule is difficult to follow only when the writer doesn’t know which word in the sentence is the subject and thus makes the verb agree with the wrong word.


Here is an example of this type of confusion:

Only one of the students are going to win the raffle.

Here, the subject of the sentence is one, not students. The verb must therefore agree with one, which is singular. “Are” does not agree with “one.”  The sentence must be corrected to

Only one of the students is going to win the raffle.

Note that words that end in –one, -thing, or –body are always singular. These words include:

anyone                 anything              anybody              everyone            everything          everybody

no one                  nothing                                nobody                                someone             something          somebody

It is fairly easy to apply the rule of subject and verb agreement when you are writing simple sentences. For example, you would never write: “Everybody are on the bus.” The confusion usually happens when you include a number of words between your subject and your verb, for example: “Everybody going on the ski trip to Montreal are on the bus.” The meaning is plural – more than one person is on the bus. But the subject, everybody, is singular, so the verb must also be in singular form.

subject verb agreement for irregular verbs
subject verb agreement for irregular verbs

Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise with Explanation 

  1. When two or more elements represent a compound subject joined by and, the verb is plural:

جب دو یا زیادہ عناصر ایک مرکب موضوع کی نمائندگی کرتے ہیں اور ، فعل جمع ہے:

Incorrect: Precious time and energy goes into the coach’s strategy.

غلط: قیمتی وقت اور توانائی کوچ کی حکمت عملی میں جاتی ہے۔

Revised: Precious time and energy go into the coach’s strategy

Tip for Subject/verb Agreement

But: Certain phrases represent an exception: they seem to refer to two or more separate elements but really refer to single unified entities, and therefore take singular verbs.


Rice and beans forms a staple of the diet in many Honduran homes. (The two elements are considered as parts of a single meal.)


Peanut butter and jelly is my favorite sandwich filling.



Note: Certain phrases such as along with and as well as, even though they mean the

same as and, do not function in the same way grammatically:


The mayor, as well as the district attorney, was alerted to the problem.


The rap star, along with his entourage, is making his entrance to the arena.

  1. When two subjects are linked by either and or or by neither and nor, the verb “agrees” in number with the part of the subject that is closest to it:

Neither the players nor the coach was aware of the league’s policy on drug-testing. (The verb is singular because “coach” is closer to it and is singular.)

But: Neither the coach nor the players were aware of the league’s policy on drug-testing. (In this case the verb is plural because “players” is plural.)

  1. Beware of phrases or clauses that intervene between the subject and the verb. Find the subject and make the verb agree with it.

Incorrect: The sensation of soaring down the mountains, my hair flying in the wind, my knees shaking, are the ultimate rush.

Revised: The sensation of soaring down the mountains, my hair flying in the wind, my knees shaking, is the ultimate rush. (The verb should be is because the subject is the word sensation.)

subject verb agreement example

Be particularly vigilant of prepositional phrases. An object of a preposition (like in, of, to, for, from, into) can not be the subject of the sentence.

The irregular layout of the rooms also (inspire/inspires) a sense of uneasiness. The verb should be inspires because the subject is “layout,” not “rooms,” which is the object of the preposition of.

subject verb agreement without s example

Or consider the following sentence:

The long strands of golden brown hair that she carefully grooms has brought numerous compliments from complete strangers.

As is the case in a number of situations in English grammar, it is helpful to temporarily “block out” the intervening phrases in your mind, and to consider what verb form would work with the remaining elements of the sentence.

Corrected: The long strands of golden brown hair that she carefully grooms have brought numerous compliments from complete strangers.

  1. When the subject is a collective noun, the verb is singular when the noun is considered as a single unified entity and plural when the constituent parts are being emphasized.

The band is landing at O’Hare Airport at 7:40 p.m. (Presumably all of the members of the band are on the same plane and are referred to in the aggregate.)

The band are staying in rooms 204-209 of the Paris Hilton Hotel. (Here the band members are being considered as separate constituents.)

Or: The members of the band are staying in rooms 204-209 of the Paris Hilton Hotel. (This version may seem less awkward to many people.)

Multiple subjects joined by “and”

  1. Be careful with sentences in which the word order is “inverted.” (The “usual” sequence in sentences is subject-verb-object, so we come to expect the subject to precede the verb.) As always, find the subject and make the verb “agree” with it.

In the northern part of the state live many varieties of waterfowl.

The verb live is plural because the subject is the word varieties, which follows the verb—not part and not state, which precede it.

  1. Make the verb agree with the subject, not with a predicate nominative:

A professional photographer indicated that the only part of her life that is organized is her photographs.

In the sentence above, the verb (is) is singular. While photographs is plural, that word is not the subject of the sentence — the word part is the subject.

  1. Beware of subjects that seem to be plural in form (because they end in an –s) but are really singular in meaning.

Multiple subjects joined by “or”

Incorrect: Mathematics were on every student’s class schedule.

Correct: Mathematics was on every student’s class schedule.

Incorrect: The news were not reported fairly.

Correct: The news was not reported fairly.

  1. Indefinite pronouns: Certain indefinite pronouns take singular verbs, even though they may seem to encompass more than one person or entity. Among the indefinite pronouns are the words everyone, each, either, neither.

 Everyone was there.

Each represents a different sector of the country.

Neither was the correct treatment for a snake bite.

Indefinite Pronouns
Indefinite Pronouns

Other Subject-Verb Agreement Issues:


A number of takes a plural verb; the number of takes a singular verb

A number of doctors believe some kinds of stress can be medically beneficial.

The number of deaths from medical malpractice is on the rise.


Choose the correct verb in the following sentences:

  1. Settled between snowy peaks of mountains there (lies/lie) a quiet little town.
  2. The only light in all of the rooms (was/were) from the sun shining through the stained-glass windows.
  3. The way his cologne meshes with the smell of fresh air flowing in from the windows (is/are) intoxicating.
  4. Sitting right next to the waterfall in the middle of the woods (was/were) very relaxing.
  5. The smell of the fresh new flowers and clean crisp air (calm/calms) my nerves.
  6. We have discovered certain characteristics of each author that (is/are) reflected within his or her writing.
Relative Pronouns
Relative Pronouns

Special Cases

Some subjects are more complicated. They appear to be singular when they’re actually plural, or vice-versa.

  1. Compound subjects joined by or; either… or; neither…nor; not…but

If your subject is compound and joined by “and,” it remains plural. But if your subject is compound and joined by one of the words above, the verb must agree with the subject closest to it. If that word is plural, the verb must be plural and if that subject is singular, the verb must be singular as well.

For example:

Neither the captain nor the passengers want the flight to be delayed.

Neither the passengers nor the captain wants the flight to be delayed.

  1. The subject appears to be plural, but actually it is singular.
Helpful hints
Helpful hints

For example:

Justina, along with two of her friends, is trying out for the basketball team.

Obviously, three people are trying out for the team. But the subject is only one person, so the corresponding verb is singular.

All of my classes, except drama, have homework every night.

In both cases, if you cross out the extra information after the subject, it is easy to determine which verb form to use.

  1. Each (of), either (of), neither (of)

Used as subjects, these words or phrases all take singular verbs.

For example:

Either of these restaurants is acceptable to eat at.

Each wants a new bike.

Neither of the stores is open.

  1. Collective nouns. (These are nouns that name a group.) When the group is acting as a unit, use a singular verb. When all the members of the group are acting individually, use a plural verb.
Prepositional phrases
Prepositional phrases

For example:

The team is sure to win the game.

The team are getting into their uniforms now.

  1. Units of time, money, mass, length and distance, when used as subjects, all require singular verbs.

For example:

Five kilometers is too far to travel in a snowstorm.

80 pounds is the minimum weight requirement for the roller coaster.

Two hours is a long time to wait at the doctor’s office.

EXERCISE A: Correct the errors in subject-verb agreement. Some sentences may have to be modified slightly.

  1. Neither of the following two sentences are correct.
  2. The school has decided that neither final marks nor a diploma are to be issued to students who owe library fines.
  3. None of these computer programs are able to streamline our billing procedures.
  4. The enjoyment of puns and jokes involving plays on words are the result of having too little else on your mind.
  5. It is amazing how much better the orchestra play now that they have a new conductor.
  6. Her supervisors all agree that Emily need further training to be effective.

EXERCISE B: Circle the correct verb form

  1. By noon on Friday, the entire school (has/ have) left their classes and are out enjoying the weekend.
  2. Each of these courses( involve/involves) a field placement.
  3.  The Tour de France, like the Olympic Games (is/are) a world class athletic competition.
  4. Each of the women (want/wants) desperately to be selected for The Bachelor.
  5. Strict discipline is what each of our teachers (believe/believes) in.


In the sentences below, do the subjects & verbs agree?

here are Subject-verb Agreement Free PDF For You

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