Subject verb agreement rules

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  A verb must agree with its subject in number and person.  Every English learner should know the ‘subject verb agreement rules’. In this article we are going to discuss about advanced subject-verb agreement rules  with examples. And we will also practice some subject verb agreement question.


A verb always agree with the subject, if the subject  of a sentence is singular the verb must be singular. In the same way, if the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural. Here are some important rules of subject verb agreement.

1. Subject and verb must agree in two ways:-

a) In number: (singular vs plural)  for example –

  • I am reading.
  • They are singing.
  • You are doing your work.
  • We are playing.

In the above sentences, the verb agrees with the person of the subject. We use ‘am’ with the first person and ‘are’ with the  second person and ‘is’ is used with the third person.

b) In person : first, second and third person . For example

  •  Ram plays cricket.
  • They play football.
  • Geeta sings a song.
  • We go to movie.

 In these sentences, verb agrees with its subject in number. Use singular verb with singular subject.

2. Rules

In the present tense of most English verb ends with ‘-s’ when the subject is third person singular number . But there is no ‘–s  ‘  on the third person plural. Lets understands it with examples

  • A cow eats grass.
  • Cows eat grass.
  • My friend likes swimming.
  • My friends like swimming.


to this rules are – he is , they are, where different words are used, and  he does, he goes, he loves etc. where the singular ending is not –s  but –es  because the previous letter is a vowel. One the other hand, can , may , must   and ought and the auxiliaries will and shall do not have –s  on either the singular or plural.

  • . She will do it if you ask her.
  • They will do it if you ask them.

But when will is used as a full verb and not an auxiliary verb, it follows rule and takes the ending ‘-s’ the third person.

  • Whatever God wills man can not alter.

NB: The verbs that end in y and a consonant comes before y’ ( fly , pity , cry etc.) the y is changed to an I and –es, is added to the end.

  1. A bird flies.
  2. She pities the unfortunate child.

3.  One of,

Most of the English learners do mistake while use one of in the sentence and I will tell you why-

  • One of my friends are from Spain ( incorrect)
  • One of my friends is from Spain ( correct)

 When the subject is ‘one of’ and followed by a plural noun i.e. ( One of the boys) ( One of the players) the subject is considered as singular and takes singular verb to agree with the one. For examples

  • One of my friends has a fine collection of books. ( not have )
  • One of my teachers lives in Mumbai ( not live)

4 Each and every

*Remember, each and every take singular noun and singular verb . lets understand it easily with example

  • Each boy and girl has to attend the function. ( in this sentence boy and girl is a singular noun.
  • Every man woman and child was happy to meet the PM.
  • Each minute and each second  is precious.
  • Each male and every female was protesting against that decision.

5.  Some nouns end with –s, and looks like plurals, isn’t it ? But do you know? these nouns are actually singular in their meaning and take singular verbs. Here are some commonly used nouns are – 

Physics, mathematics, economics, news, gallows, billiards ,  innings, politics, measles, mumps, wages, alms,

The above words are though seems like plurals but remember these are actually  singular and take singular verbs. Look at the examples –

  • No news is a good news.
  • Physics is a good subject.
  • Economics / mathematics is a good subject
  • First innings was  spoiled due to heavy rain.

6. Rule:

Another important rule to be remember is that the noun which are plural and denotes quantity or measurement of time, money, distance and weight as a unit. They take singular verb. You can notice in the following sentences-

  • Ten pound is a lot of money ( not are)
  • Hundred rupees is a big amount for him.
  • Two kilograms is not a heavy weight. ( not are)

7.  Some noun appears as singular but they are plural in their meanings so remember these words and use correctly. Such nouns are –

Dozen, hundred, million, cattle, people, score, thousand, police, gentry, infantry.etc

Here are some examples

  • The cattle are grazing. (Not is)
  • The score were saved by him. (Not is)
  • Not less than a dozen were injured. Etc.

  Thus, the verb is an important part of a sentence. The verb takes –s, or –es according to the number and person of a subject. So you should know the complete subject verb agreement rules to avoid any mistakes.

Some subject verb agreement questions are given below for practice.

Subject-verb agreement questions/exercises:
  1. Fill  the correct form of the present tense verb in the blank spaces in the following sentences. Pick verb from the bracket given at the end of each sentence.
  • A new house…….a lot of money. (cost)
  • The tallest of the three girls ………….next door to me. (live)
  • An aeroplane …… more quickly than a bird.( fly)
  • All the pupils in our school…… English.( learn)
  • The second innings …… spoiled due to fire. ( was /were)
  • Every young and every old ……….  happy to receive a gift. ( were/was)
  • There is another ….. better than this. ( hospitals/hospital )
  • A lot of shops and houses…….destroyed by the storm/(was/ were)
  • The countryside ………..very beautiful in spring.( look )

These are some subject verb agreement exercise question . If you want more in details of subject verb agreement rules and exercise questions .Please let us know by leaving your valuable comment below the comment section.

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