English Grammar Subject Verb Agreement Rules

English Grammar: Subject-Verb Agreement Rules

Subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of English grammar. When writing or speaking in English, it is crucial to ensure that the subject and verb in a sentence agree in terms of number and person. Inaccuracies in subject-verb agreement can result in confusion and diminish the quality of your writing or speech. In this article, we will explore the subject-verb agreement rules to improve your writing skills.

Rule 1: Singular subjects require singular verbs, while plural subjects require plural verbs.


– The cat walks on the roof. (Singular subject + Singular verb)

– Cats walk on the roof. (Plural subject + Plural verb)

Rule 2: A singular subject joined by `or` or `nor` with another singular subject requires a singular verb. However, if the subject is plural, we use the plural verb.


– The dog or the cat eats cat food. (Singular subject + Singular verb)

– Neither the lion nor the tiger is in the cage. (Singular subject + Singular verb)

– Neither the lions nor the tigers are in the cage. (Plural subject + Plural verb)

Rule 3: Compound subjects with the aid of `and` require plural verbs.


– The man and the woman are eating dinner. (Plural subject + Plural verb)

– The cake, cookies, and ice cream are her favorite desserts. (Plural subject + Plural verb)

Rule 4: Collective nouns like team, family, audience, committee, etc., can be either singular or plural, depending on the context. When referring to the collective group as a unit, we use a singular verb. However, when referring to individual members of the group, we use a plural verb.


– The team is playing really well. (Singular subject + Singular verb)

– The committee members are discussing the proposal. (Plural subject + Plural verb)

Rule 5: Indefinite pronouns like anyone, someone, nobody, etc., require a singular verb.


– Someone is knocking on the door. (Singular subject + Singular verb)

– No one knows what happened. (Singular subject + Singular verb)

Rule 6: Prepositional phrases that come between the subject and verb do not affect the agreement.


– The woman with the dog walks in the park. (Singular subject + Singular verb)

– The people in the park are playing frisbee. (Plural subject + Plural verb)

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement rules play a significant role in effective communication in English. By applying these rules, you can improve your writing and speaking skills, making your messages clearer and more effective. Remember, always check your subject-verb agreement, and practice regularly to improve your grammar skills.