Archive for August 2011

Rules of Subject Verb Agreement Part 2

August 22, 2011


When there are words or phrases in between the subject and the verb, the reader can be fooled into believing the extra words change the verb. Look at the example.

– (Faulty)  The wall, as well as the floors, need repair.

– (Revised) The wall, as well as the floors, needs repair.


– (Faulty)  The attention of the students wander out the window.

– (Revised) The attention of the students wanders out the


In such cases, you must watch out for the plural constructions that might fall between your singular subject and its verb. The words floors and students are plural, but are not subjects in the above sentences. These “in-between” words simply tell about or describe the subject.

Exercise, Part A and B): Circle the correct verb, and underline the subject of the sentence. Explain your choice.

1. Romantic prose and science Fiction (is/are) forms of creative writing.


2. Getting new blue jeans, sporty shirts, or a new binder (make/makes) you happy.


3. The construction company informed me that neither it nor its representative (is/are) responsible for the damage to your basement.


4. Alistair MacLeod, like many contemporary Canadian authors, (write/writes) stories with timeless themes.


5. The whole vacation package, including flight, hotel, and the rental car, (is/are) too expensive for me.


To be continued…