Subject verb agreement in English for WBCS 2020-21

Subject verb agreement may be said as one of the most confusing chapters of English grammar to the English learners as it focuses on the correct accurate use of verbs according to the subjects of a sentence. Can you fill up the blanks with proper forms of the verbs given in the brackets. Three-fourth of the glass ….(is/are) empty. More than one…..( is/ are) allowed to enter.

Confused? Scratching your head? Wait..wait..Don’t be confused. Here is a list of 14 rules that must help you to construct sentences very easily and correctly. Subject verb agreement in English is also very important for the upcoming exams of WBCS 2020-21 and other competitive exams.You will never forget these rules once you understand. So let’s get started with one by one.

Rules of Subject verb agreement

  1. For a singular number and third person subject  s / es is added with the main verb in simple present or Present Indefinite Tense.

Ramu brings chocolate for me.

Sujon hits me.

2. If the subject is Relative Pronoun, the verb is placed according to the number and person of the antecedent of that Relative Pronoun.

This is the pen which I have brought from Delhi.

It is I who am to blame.

3. If the subject and complement of a sentence are of different numbers, the verb is placed according to the number of the subject, not the complement.

His followers are a minority.

Our only guide was you.

4. If the plural subject expresses an amount or

quantity of a whole, the verb is placed as a singular subject subject.

Ten miles is not enough to walk.

Three-fourth of this lesson is read.

Two thousand rupees is needed.


If the subject signifies number or digit, the verb should be written in plural form.

Two-third of the villagers are going to town.

5. Collective noun as subject takes a singular verb.

The committee consists of 10 members.

A bunch of keys is found.

6. Number, rest, part, half – these nouns when used as

subjects take verbs according to their meanings.

A large number of people gather on the road.

The number of boys attended the class was not enough.

A great part of the book was missing.

Half of the mangoes are sold.

7. More than one singular or plural subject joined with ‘ and ‘ takes plural verbs.

There are one man and one woman present in the hall.

Subham and I are brothers.


Two singular subjects joined with ‘ and ‘ expressing one same thing take singular verb.

Rice and curry is my favourite.

Bread and butter is costly now.

Slow and steady wins the race.

7. Singular subjects, joined with ‘ and ‘ but having only one article before the first subject take singular verbs.

The headmaster and secretary is an honest man.

The president and secretary has  come.

8. If ‘ each ‘ or ‘ every ‘ is added with singular subjects and they are joined with ‘ and ‘,the subjects take singular verbs.

Each boy and girl is playing now.

Each man and every woman is given a free meal.

9. Singular noun followed by ‘ no ‘ takes singular verb.

No bus and no taxy was available during the curfew.

10. Singular subject with ‘ and not ‘ takes singular verb.

He, and not his father, has gone.

I, and not my brother, have done this act.

11. When two subjects joined with phrases like  ‘ as well as ‘, ‘ together with ‘, ‘ in addition to ‘, ‘ and ‘ not ‘ or words like ‘ with ‘, ‘ after ‘, etc., the verb is placed according to the number and person of the 1st subject.

Rina as well as Sima was happy.

I, and not my friend, have hit him.

She, with her daughter, was dancing.

Man after man was running.

11. After two or more singular subjects connected with ‘ or , nor, neither – nor, either – or ‘ singular verb is placed.

Neither he nor his father helps me.

Either a pen or a pencil is needed.

Not a doctor nor a patient was there.

12. When two Subjects of different persons are connected with ‘ either – or, neither – nor ‘ , the verb should be used according to the number and person of the  nearest subject of the verb or the 2nd subject mentioned in the sentence.

Neither he nor I am guilty.

Either you or he was laughing.

13. When we use two subjects of different numbers ( one singular and the other is plural ) joined with ‘Either – or ‘, ‘ Neither – nor ‘, the plural subject should be placed nearest to the verb and the verb takes plural form.

Neither he nor they were dancing.

Either he or his friends

14. ( The + Adjective ) expresses plural common noun. So it takes plural verbs.

The poor are always sufferer.

The brave always deserve honour.

So, revise this lesson again and again and try to memorise them. Best of luck….

About JM

Hi, I am an English Educator, guiding & teaching students for 15 years. I love to learn & teach. Just it. Thanks to you.

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