Subject-Verb Agreement : Episode 1

🔷 Read the following sentences. 

I are on a bus. (?)
I are on the journey. (?)

Are there any problems with these sentences ?  
Of course, there are. 

What is the subject of a sentence? 

A subject  is the noun or pronoun ( or person, place or thing ) the  sentence is about.  

It is sometimes called performer . Therefore the subject of the first sentence is I.                       

What is the verb action word that goes with  the subject I? 

Should we use are with I

No . 
We use the verb am with I in simple present tense .

When a subject is with its correct verb , it is called subject-verb agreement .

So the sentences should be -
I am on a bus .
I am on the journey.

➤ Rule 1The noun having ics at its end  will take singular verb .
Physics is my favourite subject.
Optics is an important subject.

 ➤ Rule 2: A verb must agree with its subject in person and number . 
Most verbs change forms to indicate agreement only in the present tense : -s or -es is added at the end of  the base form of  verb for a third person singular subject.

The linking verb be , however , changes form in both present and past tense.        
Singular : She reads . It was right.
Plural : They read. They were right .

When be , have and do are used as auxiliaries in verb phrases , their form changes to show agreement with third person subject .

Singular : She is singing . He has gone away. Rana does work here .
Plural :They are singing . They have gone away. They do work here.

But -
We do not mistake a word in a prepositional phrase for the subject of a sentence. We never confuse the subject with a prepositional phrase that follows . 

We must be sure that the verb agrees with the actual subject of the sentence and not with subject of a preposition .

Example -
The author of the stories uses a pen name.
( here the subject author is singular, 
so it agrees with the verb uses
Note that of the stories is a prepositional phrase .)

A letter with many mistakes does not make a good impression .
( the subject letter is singular , with many mistakes is a prepositional phrase . Therefore, the verb does agrees with the singular subject letter.)

➤ Rule 3: Plural verb is used after the phrase a number and  after the number  singular verb is used .
A number of persons were killed in the accident .
The number of students in this class is 50.

➤ Rule 4: Although the name of a book is plural in form , a singular verb will be used for it.
Gulliver's Travels is a famous book.
Great Expectations was written by Dickens .

➤ Rule 5: The nouns which indicate group of persons /animals/things will take either singular or plural verb. 
(normally in British English , plural verb is used and in American English singular verb is used.)
🔷 The government has introduced compulsory primary education.
🔷 The government have introduced compulsory primary education.

The academic committee was annoyed with the chairman .
The academic committee were annoyed with the chairman .

➤ Rule 6: In an inverted sentence (a sentence in which subject follows the verb , that is, a subject is placed after the verb), we must take care in locating the simple subject , and make sure that the verb agrees with the subject.

Singular : From the branch sings a bird .
Plural : From the branch sing two birds.

Some inverted sentences begin with the word here and there .  
here , there  is almost never the subject of a sentence.

Singular : There goes the trainer.
Plural: There go the two trainers.

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