As the grammar says, we should always use a singular verb with a singular noun and a plural verb with a plural noun.

We say:

I speak.

He speaks.

Are they both (speak and speaks) singular verbs at the same time as they are being used with singular nouns.

But nouns' number unlike verbs' doesn't change with subjects.

Please tell me the key differences between noun's number and verb's number.

  • You are confusing nouns and pronouns. I and He are pronouns, not nouns. Now, go look up any present tense verb in English. The third person singular pronouns: he/she/it take s or es. – Lambie Aug 6 '20 at 19:39
  • The only language I can think of that marks the number of a verb is Early Modern Swedish. Most languages of Europe and Western Asia mark a complex of number and person on the verb: there isn't an element that you can say marks the number. English has reduced the possible endings to 2 for most verbs: the 3rd person singular in '-s' or '-es', and the rest, both singula and plural. – Colin Fine Aug 6 '20 at 22:51

It is quite often the case that there is no difference between the singular and plural forms of a verb.

"To be" is always the least regular verb, so "I am/we are" is clearly different, and so is "he is/they are", but as you observe "you are/you are" is not.

If we take a more regular verb like "walk", we get "I walk/we walk", "you walk/you walk", "she walks/they walk" and only the third person is distinct in singular and plural.

I hesitate to walk into the minefield of gender neutral pronouns, but here goes: if you are using "they" as a third person singular pronoun for an unknown person of arbitrary gender, or a the third person singular pronoun for a known individual who happens to prefer a gender neutral pronoun, you still say "they are" or "they walk". On the other hand, if you refer to the individual by name you revert to using third person singular noun, and say "Jack Monroe is" or "Jack Monroe walks".


Strictly speaking, you is a plural pronoun which takes a plural verb. Since the singular thou is no longer used in prose and conversations except poetry, the only option left is to use you for singular pronoun and plural pronoun.But it has not lost its plurality as far as the verb that follows it is concerned. so we say:

you are a new user

You write well.

You are friends

You are a friend of mine

If you is treated singular it shoud be you walks but it is not.

So inorder to avoid the ambiguity we say;

you are all welcome sinnce you are welcome may refer to one person or many persons.

You will have to know that singular they and plural they exist in English.

They are friends( plural they)

They are a new user( singular they)

We have to know that you and they take a plural verb as they are basically plural pronouns.The verb does not lose its property. plural pronoun takes a plural verb and singular pronoun takes a singular verb

So we can never say:

you is a teacher

They is a new comer.

But I is an exception to this rule.

I is followed by a verb without inflection and takes the basic form of the verb in the simple present and am in the present continuous and when it is used to talk about states.It takes a singular verb in the past tenses.

I speak English

I was playing cricket.

I was at home

I am playing cricket

I is a singular pronoun but it behaves peculliarly as far the verbs that follow in present and past tenses are concerned.

  • You is not only a singular pronoun. It is both singular and plural. – Lambie Aug 6 '20 at 19:56
  • I can't agree with you Lambin. You is always a plural pronoun – successive suspension Aug 8 '20 at 15:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.