Subject-Verb Concord

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Introduction

Subject-Verb Agreement means that subjects and verbs must always agree with each other. The verb changes its form to indicate the tense but it also changes its form to indicate the number of subjects in a sentence.

For example, let’s take the verb “eat.” In the present tense, the verb “eat” changes form to show that its subject is singular when its subject is anything but “I” or “you.”


                                       Singular Subjects                       Plural Subject

First Person

I eat

We eat

Second person

You eat

You all eat

Third Person

He eats, She eats, The girl eats

They eat


  • Did you identify the third person singular verb, ‘s’ is added to the verb form? All the present tense verbs have an ‘s’ added after the verb when they are used in the third person singular forms. For more read Present tense by Vedantu.

  • Think for a moment about the verbs, run, eat, walk, cry, study, and work. Now, provide these verbs with a subject “I.” I think; I run; I eat; the pronoun “I” is the only word that can be a first-person subject; likewise, the word “you” is the only word that can be a subject for the second form of the verb. The present tense verb for ‘you’ is the same as for “I.” You think; you run; you eat.

  • When we change the subject to ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘the boy’ we must add an “s.” to each verb. The boy walks; he runs; the cat eats; etc. 


Rules for Subject-Verb Concord

1. Two or more subjects which are joined by “and” are considered plural and require a verb form without an “s.”

  • Kriti, Bobby, and Bob walk to the mall. 

  •  Kriti and her brothers walk to the mall.


2. If a subject is changed by the words “each” or “every” that very subject is singular and will take a verb form that ends in “s.”

  • Each flower was decorated with a ribbon.

  • Each student has there own vehicle. 


3. When the plural subjects are joined by “or”, “nor,” or “but”, the verb must agree to the subject closest to it.

  • Either She or her friends will attend the event.

  • Not Bob but his father was accountable for the crime.


4. Indefinite pronouns* are generally singular and use a verb form that ends in “s.” 

  • Everyone sings with the singer.

  • Every tree dances with the wind.


5. The subject of a verb should never be in a prepositional or verbal phrase. Therefore care must be taken in isolating the phrase and then finding the proper subject.

  • The mother cow(along with her five calves) walks on the road.


6. Few indefinite pronouns and nouns will be singular or plural but it depends on the object of the prepositional phrase. These words are all about the number or some amount such as all, half, some, none, most, part, etc.

  • Some of the families are coming.

  • Some of the food is over.


7. When a collective noun, such as family, group, committee, or class, is used as the subject, the verb will end in ‘s’.

  • My family walks after dinner. 

  • The committee decides to take a stand.


8. A few nouns, such as Maths, measles, or news end in “s” but are considered singular. We can see that these words which although ends with an‘s’ are singular because if we take the “s” away, we don’t have a noun. 

  • Math is her favorite subject in class.

  • They watch the news. 


9. When a subject is a unit of measurement of time, distance, money, weight, etc, the unit is considered as singular, and the verb will end in “s.”

  • India imports hundreds of kilos plastic or plastic articles. 

  • Thirteen feet of rope bears the weight easily.


10. The question or in a sentence that begins with there or here, the verb will often come before the subject.

  • Where is my uniform?

  • There are my uniforms.


Exercise- 

  1. Your love over the years and your support (has/have) given us confidence.. 

  2. The bowling alley in the north campus, (offers/offer) a wide variety of entertainment services.. 

  3. The main source of income for Iran (is/are) oil and pitch. 

  4. The chances of your being hired (is/are) excellent. 

  5. There (was/were) a dead cockroach stuck to the refrigerator. 

  6. Neither the professor nor his assistants (was/were) able to solve the puzzle I have them.

  7. Spending many hours at the driving range (has/have) led to the design of golf balls with GPS trackers in them. 

  8. Every year, due to the festival, the smoke of the village bonfires (fills/fill) the sky. 

  9. The story performers (was/were) surrounded by children and adults eager to see magical tales.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Concord Explain with Examples?

Ans: Concord is a state of an agreement between two elements. In grammar, concord means the way that a word has a form in accordance with the number or gender of the noun or pronoun it relates to. For example, in 'She hates it', there is a concord between the singular form of the verb and the singular pronoun 'she'.    

2. How Do We Identify the Concord Error?

Ans: Singular subjects should be followed by a singular verb. Concord/agreement errors can be discovered by looking for the verb in the sentence (which shows the action) and then the subject (the person performing the action). If these have the same number(singular or plural) your sentence is appropriate.