Subject-Verb Agreement


Solution

Sometimes subject-verb agreement is complicated by a compound subject. This simple rule will help you choose the correct verb to agree with a compound subject:

When a compound subject is joined by and, use a plural verb.
When a compound subject is joined by or or nor, choose a verb that agrees with the subject nearest to the verb.




Let's look at some examples:
  • When a compound subject is joined by and, use a plural verb.




  • When a compound subject is joined by or or nor, choose a verb that agrees with its nearest subject.




    Notice that even though the two subjects are the same in each sentence, the first sentence requires a plural verb while the second sentence requires a singular verb. When a compound subject is combined with the conjunctions or or nor, agreement is based on proximity. The verb agrees with whichever subject is nearest to the verb.





When a compound subject is joined by and, use a plural verb.
When a compound subject is joined by or or nor, choose a verb that agrees with the subject nearest to the verb.