9 GrammarAgreement Subject and verb agreement * Pronoun and antecedent agreement
Subject-Verb Agreement (2a) A verb should always agree with its subject in number. Singular subjects take singular verbs. Plural subjects take plural verbs.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2a) Singular Plural She searches for Mme. Forestier’s necklace. Miss Lottie’s flower garden was destroyed. They search for Mme. Forestier’s necklace. Miss Lottie’s marigolds were destroyed.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2b) The number of the subject is not changed by an interruptive phrase.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2b) Singular Plural The sign near the glass doors explains the theme of the exhibit. Romeo, together with Benvolio and Mercutio, goes to Lord Capulet’s party. Several paintings by Emilio Sanchez were hanging in the gallery. The combs made of pure tortoise shell were expensive.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2c) The following indefinite pronouns are singular: anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, someone, something.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2c) Each of the poems about farm workers was written by Gary Soto. Has anyone else in your study group read all of The Miracle Worker?
Subject-Verb Agreement (2d) The following indefinite pronouns are plural: both, few, many, several.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2d) Both of the poems about the San Joaquin Valley were written by Gary Soto. Have many in your study group read The Miracle Worker?
Subject-Verb Agreement (2e) The indefinite pronouns all, any, most, none, and some are singular when they refer to singular words and are plural when they refer to plural words.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2e) Singular Plural Some of the showis funny. All of the houselooks clean. Some of the skits and other acts are funny. All of the houseslook clean.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f) • A compound subject, which is two or more subjects that have the same verb, may be singular, plural, or either.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f1) Compound subjects joined by and usually take a plural verb; however a compound subject that names only one person or thing takes a singular verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f1) Both Leslie Marmon Silkoand Mari Evans are poets. My pen pal and best friend is my cousin. Macaroni and cheese makes a good side dish.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f2) Compound subjects that are singular and are joined by orornor take a singular verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f2) Either the principal or the coach has to approve it. Neither Della nor Jim was disappointed.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f3) When a singular subject and a plural subject are joined (compound subject) by orornor, the verb agrees with the subject nearer the verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2f3) Neither the losers nor the winner was happy with the outcome of the match. Neither the winner nor the losers were happy with the outcome of the match.
Writing Tip If such a construction sounds awkward, revise the sentence to give each part of the subject its own verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2g) • Don’t and doesn’t must agree with their subjects. • With the subjects I and you and with plural subjects, use don’t (do not). • With other subjects, use doesn’t (does not).
Subject-Verb Agreement (2g) I don’t know. You don’t seem happy. Some people don’t care. He doesn’t drive. Donna doesn’t work. It doesn’t have one.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2h) A collective noun takes a singular verb when the noun refers to the group as a unit and takes a plural verb when the noun refers to the individual parts or members of the group.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2h) Singular Plural The classhas elected its officers. (class=a unit) The classhave completed their projects on Romeo and Juliet. (class=individual students)
Subject-Verb Agreement (2i) A verb agrees with its subject, not its predicate nominative.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2i) Singular Plural The main attraction is the marching bands. The marching bands are the main attraction.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2j) A verb agrees with its subject even when the verb precedes the subject, as in sentences beginning with here or there and in questions.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2j) Singular Plural Here is[or here’s] my drawing of the Cyclops. When in the program does the skater perform her triple axel? Here are my drawings of the Cyclops. When in the program do the fans start clapping to the music?
Writing Tip Contractions such as here’s, there’s, and where’s should be used only with singular subjects.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2k) An expression of an amount (a length of time, a statistic or a fraction, for example) is singular when the amount is thought of as a unit or when it refers to a singular word and is plural when the amount is thought of as many parts or when it refers to a plural word.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2k) Singular Plural Twenty dollars is the amount Della receives for her hair. Three fourths of the barrelis full. Twenty dollars were stuck together. Three fourths of the barrelshave been loaded.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2l) The title of a creative work (such as a book, song, film or painting) or the name of an organization, a country, or city (even if it is plural in form) takes a singular verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2l) “Marigolds” is the story by Eugenia W. Collier. Friends of the Earth was founded in 1969. The Netherlands has thousands of canals.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2m) A few nouns, though plural in form, take singular verbs. Some nouns that end in –s take a plural verb even though they refer to a single item.
Subject-Verb Agreement (2m) The news of the nominee for the Supreme Court was a surprise to many observers. The scissorsneed to ne sharpened. Were these pants on sale?
Subject-Verb Agreement The antecedent of a relative pronoun, who, which, or that, determines its agreement with a verb.
Subject-Verb Agreement Sam is the only one of the trainees who has applied. Sam is the only qualified person of the traineeswho have applied.
9 GrammarAgreement Subject and verb agreement Pronoun and antecedent agreement*
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2n) • A pronoun agrees with its antecedent in number and gender. • Singular pronouns refer to singular antecedents. • A few personal pronouns indicate gender: feminine, masculine, or neuter. • Plural pronouns refer to plural antecedents. • No plural pronouns indicate gender.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2n) • Masculine: he, his, him, himself • General Zaroffthinks that Rainsford has escaped him. (singular, masculine) • Feminine: she, her, hers, herself • Juliet stabs herself. (singular, feminine) • Neuter: it, it, its, itself • After eating the lotus plant, the men did not want to return to their homeland. (plural)
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2o) • A singular pronoun is used to refer to anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, someone, something. • The gender of the pronouns can sometimes be determined by a word in a phrase following the pronoun
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2o) Each of the boys held some pebbles in his hand. Everyone on the girls’ tennis team won her match.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement When the antecedent could be either masculine or feminine, use both the masculine and the feminine pronoun forms connected by or.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Everybody should choose his or her friends carefully.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2p) A singular pronoun is used to refer to two or more singular antecedents joined by orornor. Use a plural personal pronoun if any part of a compound antecedent joined by orornor is plural.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2p) Paula or Janet will present her interpretation of Denise Levertov’s “The Secret.” Neither Richard nor Bob has read his report on Ray Bradbury. If my sisters or Carol arrives, ask them to wait.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2p) An exception to this rule occurs when it is necessary to distinguish between individual and joint ownership.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2p) Neither Linda nor Monica let me ride her horse. (Linda and Monica each own a horse) Neither Linda nor Monica let me ride their horse. (Linda and Monica own the same horse)
Writing Tip If a sentence sounds awkward when the antecedents are of different genders, revise it. Either Ben or Maria will read his or her report on O. Henry. Either Benwill read his report on O. Henry, or Mariawill read hers.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2q) A plural pronoun is used to refer to two or more antecedents joined by and.
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (2q) Romeo and Juliet marry despite the feud between their families. Doodle and his brother spent much time with each other; they became very close.