Verb Subject Agreement Rules


As a copy editor, it is crucial to ensure that your writing is error-free. One of the most common grammatical errors that writers make is the lack of agreement between the subject and verb in a sentence. To make sure your writing is clear and concise, it is essential to understand the verb subject agreement rules.

What is Verb Subject Agreement?

Verb subject agreement is the agreement or matching of the verb with the subject of the sentence. The verb in a sentence must agree with the subject to achieve grammatical correctness. In simple terms, if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must be plural.

Basic Rules of Verb Subject Agreement

1. Singular subject requires singular verb: A singular noun or pronoun takes a singular verb. For instance,

• Mary is going to the party.

• The bird sings beautifully.

2. Plural subject requires plural verb: A plural subject takes a plural verb. For instance,

• The girls are playing in the park.

• The dogs bark at night.

3. Collective Nouns: Collective nouns refer to a group of people or things. It can be singular or plural depending on the context and meaning of the sentence. For instance,

• The team is playing well. (singular)

• The team are discussing their strategy. (plural)

4. Indefinite Pronouns: Indefinite pronouns are words that do not refer to any specific person or thing. They can be singular or plural depending on the context and meaning of the sentence. For instance,

• Someone is knocking at the door. (singular)

• Some people are waiting outside. (plural)

5. Compound subjects: A compound subject is a subject that consists of more than one noun or pronoun. It takes a plural verb. For instance,

• My sister and I are going to the movie. (plural)

• The dog and the cat are fighting. (plural)

Exceptions to the Verb Subject Agreement Rules

1. None: None is treated as either singular or plural depending on the context.

• None of the students is attending the class.

• None of the answers are correct.

2. Either/Or, Neither/Nor: Either/Or and Neither/Nor take the verb based on the number of the second subject in the sentence.

• Either my sister or my brother is going to the party.

• Neither the teacher nor the students are aware of the situation.


Verb subject agreement is an essential aspect of writing that cannot be ignored. It promotes clarity and simplicity in a sentence. By following the basic rules and understanding the exceptions, writers can create grammatically correct and professional content that is easy to read and understand. As a professional, it is vital to ensure that your writing is free of verb subject agreement errors to boost the overall quality of your work.