The Subject-Verb Agreement Rules Part 2

In the previous post, we have learned seven rules of the subject-verb agreement. We now continue with the 8th rule. 

Rule 8: Modifiers between the subject and the verb does not affect the number of the subject. 

Jason, who is a father of four, is currently suffering liver cancer. 

In this sentence, the phrase “who is a father of four” is a modifier of Jason. It does not affect Jason as a subject and therefore takes a singular verb ‘is.’ 

Rule 9: Some nouns (collective nouns) can be used as singular or plural depending on the context and usage. 

Rica’s family plans to go on a vacation this summer.

The staff have gone their separate ways after the meeting.

In the first sentence, the family is a collective noun and functions as one group. In the second sentence, the staff refers to the persons individually.

Rule 10: Uncountable nouns or nouns that can’t be counted takes singular verbs.

Too much sugar was put in this coffee.

Money is the root of all evils.”

In this sentence, sugar is an uncountable noun, so we used ‘was’ instead of ‘were.’  It is the same with the second sentence.

Rule 11: There are words that end in s that are always considered as singular.

The news about her death is spreading very fast.

Mathematics is a very difficult subject.

Diabetes is not a curable disease.

Rule 12: Fractional expressions ‘half of,’ ‘part of,’ ‘portion of’ may take singular or plural verbs depending on the context.

Half of the audience are asleep because of his boring speech.

A portion of his wealth was donated to cancer patients.

Rule 13: In inverted sentences especially those that use here and there, the subject follows the verb.

Here are the towels.

A good snack is a salad.

Now, that you know the basics, we are no ready to discuss the tenses. More to come. 🙂

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