Agreement of the Verb with the Subject.

A finite verb must agree with its subject in number and person.

1. Two or more singular nouns or pronouns joined by and require a plural verb.

e.g. Earth and fire are natural resources.
Knowledge and wisdom have a great connection.
Are your father and mother in Dubai?

2. Two or more singular nouns which suggest one idea or refer to the same person take a singular verb.

e.g. Time and tide waits for no man.
The rise and falls of the tide occurs according to the moon.
My friend, philosopher and guide is here.

3. A singular subject containing words or phrases that are part of the main subject takes a singular verb.

e.g. The ship with its crew is sinking.
Mobile, as well as Laptop, has become expensive.
The Teacher, with his students is invited to the exhibition.

4. Two or more singular subjects connected by 'or' or 'nor' take a singular verb.

e.g. Either the lion or the tiger has attacked him.
Neither praise nor blame seems to affect her.
My success or my fame is due to my own efforts.

5. Two or more subjects - one singular and one plural connected by 'or' or 'nor' take a plural verb, provided the plural subject is placed nearest the verb.

e.g. Neither the Principal nor the clerks are in office.
Either he or his brothers go to America every summer.
Neither my colleague nor they are responsible for this.

6. Either, neither, each, everyone take a singular verb.

e.g. Each of the seats was cleaned thoroughly.
Everyone loves to play cricket.
Neither of the two answers is correct.

7. A verb must agree with its true subject and not with the one nearest to it.

e.g.  The results of the competition are surprising.
The quality of oranges was not quite good.
Her knowledge of languages is far too good to be challenged.

8. When the subject contains a noun phrase in relation to its main noun or pronoun, the verb must agree with the main noun or pronoun.

e.g. I, a student of class IX am going to recite a poem.
The Minister, a true politician and good administrator is admired by all.
The policemen, a government taskforce were sent to the site of the accident.

9. When a compound subject contains the pronoun 'I', it is placed last (in order) and as such the verb agrees with the compound subject (which is treated as 'we')

e.g. He and I are friends.
Ajith, Surya and I like sweets.  
My sister and I enjoy movie.


Rewrite the following sentences using the correct form of the present tense of the verb given in the brackets:

1. Ajith and Surya (to make) us laugh with their comedy.
Ans. Ajith and Surya make us laugh with their jokes.

2. I, the leader of the opposition (to be) here to convince you about my thought.
Ans. I, the leader of the opposition, am here to convince you about my views.

3. Neither of us (to like) chicken.
Ans. Neither of us likes chicken.

4. Knowledge and learning (to go) hand in hand.
Ans. Knowledge and learning go hand in hand.

5. The bus, with its passengers (to be) trapped near the bridge.
Ans. The bus, with its passengers is trapped near the bridge.

6. Each of the seats (to be) fixed with pillows.
Ans. Each of the seats is fixed with pillows.

7. Either Sunil or you (to come)  inside.
Ans. Either Sunil or you come inside.

8. The measure of these chairs (to be) not taken.
The measure of these tables is not taken.

9. The nation and its people (to have) a great responsibility.
Ans. The nation and its people have a great responsibility.

10. All of us (to require) rest, sleep and exercise.

Ans. All of us require rest, sleep and exercise.