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ICSE Class 9 Grammar Revision Notes for Subject- Verb Agreement

Subject Verb Agreement

What is Subject Verb Agreement?
Subject verb agreement or subject verb concord in grammar is the agreement of the subject with the verb in number and person.

The verbs in Sentences (a) and (b) demonstrate the agreement rule. In Sentence (a), the subject ‘The dog’ is singular. Hence, a singular verb ‘growls’ is used. In Sentence (b), the subject ‘The dogs’ is plural.
Hence, the plural verb ‘growl’ is used. This relationship between the noun and the verb is called subject verb agreement.

Rules of Subject Verb Agreement

  • Uncountable nouns and material nouns will agree with singular verbs.
  • In a noun phrase, the head word (either a noun or a pronoun) agrees with the verb.

  • Some collective nouns always agree with plural verbs.
  • While dealing with collective nouns, one should determine whether the verb refers to the collection or the members within the collection. If the verb refers to the collection, the verb is singular. If the verb refers to the actions of individual members of the collective noun, the verb is plural.
  • The nature of the action of the members in the collection nouns also determines whether the verb will be singular or plural. If the action is in unison, the verb is singular. If the action is not in unison, the verb is plural.
  • Indefinite pronouns always agree with singular verbs.
  • Gerunds always agree with singular verbs.
  • In the case of compound subjects joined by the conjunction ‘and’, the verb will be plural.
  • Sometimes, the compound subject may represent a single idea, notion or thing. In such cases, the subject will agree with a singular verb.
  • Phrases such as ‘along with’ and ‘as well as’ and ‘together with’ connect two nouns like the conjunction ‘and’.
  • The verbs in these cases will agree with the first noun.
  • When two nouns are connected by correlatives either…or and neither…nor, the verb agrees with the noun which is closest to it.
  • When distributive pronouns are in the subject, the verb will be singular.
  • When units of measurement are used in the subject, the verb will be singular.
  • When pronouns such as ‘there’ and ‘here’ are used, the verb will agree with the noun which follows it.
  • Some nouns may end in ‘-s’ and may seem plural, but they agree with singular verbs.
  • Some nouns are always in the plural form and will agree with plural verbs. These words may sound awkward in their singular form. Many of them operate in pairs. Examples: Jeans, scissors, shorts
  • Some nouns do not have a plural form. These words may be singular or plural.
  • Fractional expressions may agree with singular or plural verbs depending on their number.
  • The phrase ‘…is one of the’ will be followed by a plural verb.
  • Sometimes, a modifier may distance the subject from the verb. In such cases, the modifiers should not affect subject verb agreement in any way.


Grammar Chapters for Revision Notes

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