CBSE Class 9 English Grammar – Subject-Verb Concord
The basic principle of subject-verb agreement is that singular subjects need singular verbs. Plural subjects need plural verbs:
- I like this scenery.
- We like this scenery.
(ii) The second person singular or plural takes a singular verb:
- You like this scenery.
(iii) The third person singular takes a singular verb:
- He likes this scenery.
(iv) The third person plural takes a plural verb:
3. Uncountable Noun:
When We use an uncountable noun as the subject of a verb, we use a singular form of the verb:
- Honesty is the best policy.
- Fear begins to haunt him.
4. Singular and Plural Nouns:
When we use a singular noun as the subject of a verb, we use a singular verb. Plural nouns take a plural verb:
- The moon was shining in the sky.
- The sun is about to set.
- The children were swimming.
- The farmers were ploughing.
5. One of + Plural Noun:
When the subject consists of ‘one of + plural noun’, the verb is singular:
- One of the girls was singing.
- One of the students was talking.
- One of the birds was chirping.
6. Long Subject:
When a clause or a long group of words is the subject, we have to be careful to make the verb agree with the subject:
- The chairs which I bought yesterday are very costly.
- The woman whom I met in the market was my friend’s sister.
7. Introductory ‘there’:
The verb has to agree with the real subject that follows the introductory there. If the subject is singular, then there will be followed by a singular verb. If the real subject is plural, then ‘there’ will be followed by a plural verb:
- There is no chair in the room.
- There are no chairs in the room.
- There are fifty boys in the class.
- There is one girl in the class.
8. Two or More Nouns:
When two or more nouns function as subject, a plural verb is used:
- Satish and his sister have gone to see a movie.
- My friend and his father are meeting us tomorrow.
9. Distances, Weight, etc:
For distances, weight, height or amounts of money, we use a singular verb even when the subject is plural:
- Ten thousand rupees is not a small sum.
- Three kilometers is a small distance.
- Five hundred feet above sea level is not a great height.
10. Plural Names:
The title of a book, the name of a house or a hotel in plural takes a singular verb:
- “The Arabian Nights” has interesting stories.
- “The Hotel Brewers” is a five-star hotel.
11. Plural Nouns with Singular Meaning:
Nouns which are plural in form but singular in meaning usually take a singular verb:
- Mathematics is not an easy subject.
- Economics is a dull subject.
- Measles is an infectious disease.
- The latest news is that the criminal has been arrested.
12. Singular Nouns with Plural Verb:
Some nouns which appear to be singular in form take a plural verb:
- The police have arrested three terrorists.
- The Indian cricket team won the match.
13. Collective nouns like group, crowd, flock, regiment, etc. are generally followed by a singular verb:
- A group of boys was playing in the ground.
- A crowd of people rushes into the hall.
- A regiment of soldiers was marching towards the town.
14. ‘Class’ nouns such as food, furniture, clothing, etc. take a singular verb:
- This furniture is very old.
- This imported cutlery is very costly.
- His clothing consists of a bullet-proof jacket, a blue pair of trousers and some other items.
15. Some nouns which appear to be plural in form when preceded by a pair of take a singular verb, for example, shoes, scissors, trousers, etc.
- A pair of scissors was taken out of the drawer.
- A pair of trousers was washed by the servant.
- A pair of shoes was bought by him.
But when these nouns are used without ‘a pair of’, they take a plural verb:
- His shoes have worn out.
- My scissors do not cut well.
16. Some nouns are preceded by a lot of, a plenty of, a great deal of, etc. These nouns take a singular verb when they refer to amount or quantity. But they take a plural verb when they refer to number:
- A lot of people visit the exhibition.
- A plenty of water was supplied to the villagers.
17. When a singular subject is joined by as well as, in addition to, except, etc. with another noun or pronoun, we use a singular verb.
- Sohan as well as his brother has come.
- My father in addition to our neighbour has gone out for a walk.
- Everyone except Satish was present.
18. A singular verb is used with singular pronouns, e.g. each, either, neither, anyone, etc.
- Each of the boys was given a prize.
- Neither of the students was absent.
- Everybody has helped her.
19. When two or more subjects are connected by nor or or, the verb is used according to the number of the noun nearest to it:
- Neither she nor her sisters visit the temple. ‘
- Either they or he is telling a lie.
20. A collective noun such as jury, committee, family, etc. takes a singular verb when it is considered one unit. But when they are regarded as individuals, they take a plural verb:
- The jury is about to give its decision.
- The jury are divided in their opinion.
- The committee is meeting tomorrow.
- The committee have decided to raise the membership fee.
- Our family has decided to visit Shimla this summer.
- The family now live in London.
21. When some nouns are regarded as one unit, they take a singular verb:
- Bread and butter is a wholesome food.
- Brick and stone is lying scattered all over the place.
- Time and tide waits for none.
- The novelist and poet is dead.
Choose the correct form of the verbs given in the brackets in the following sentences:
- Each of these producers……………………… his own advantage, (has, have)
- Ten miles……………………… long distance, (is, are)
- Many a student …………………… hard to pass his entrance exam, (try, tries)
- The furniture in his house………………….. impressive, (look, looks)
- Few students……………….. present in the class today, (is, are)
- Ritesh, my best friend…………………… leaving for Japan next week, (is, are)
- Most of my friends…………………. government employees, (is, are)
- The level of intoxication…………………… from subject to subject, (vary, varies)
- Either boys or girls……………. telling lies, (is, are)
- A number of people……………………… reported to be missing in the train accident at Jhansi.(was, were)