Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [subject-verb-agreement]

A singular subject requires a singular verb form, whereas a plural subject requires the plural verb form.

47
votes
8answers
9k views

In the sentence: “Drinking and driving IS dangerous”, why does the verb “to be” need to be singular?

In the sentence: "Drinking and driving is dangerous". Drinking and driving are both subjects and the word dangerous is the object (I think) but why do I have to use the verb to be in singular?
43
votes
10answers
19k views

IS or ARE? “The only thing that I want you to hit right now IS/ARE the books”

In this sentence, which is the right word? The only thing that I want you to hit right now is/are the books.
27
votes
7answers
66k views

Which is the correct question (“Who has” vs “Who have”)?

The situation is that: We've already read three English novels. Which is the correct question for that situation? Who has already read three English novels? Who have already read three ...
26
votes
3answers
60k views

“file doesn’t exist” or “file doesn’t exists”

You’ve requested the example.txt file. That file doesn’t exist/exists. Which one should I use? Why?
25
votes
6answers
5k views

Why should “are” be used here instead of “is”?

The sentence given in our book is as follows, More important than winning is developing the ability to work with others and developing leadership skills We are supposed to find where the mistake ...
24
votes
6answers
7k views

“None of the kids were hungry” Or “None of the kids was hungry”

Were is used with plural pronouns The kids were hungry. And we can add "None of": None of the kids were hungry. But I read a lot of articles and books use "was" with "None of": None of the ...
24
votes
5answers
6k views

Plurality of verb depending on plurality of list elements

This question is also open on EL&U: “There Is”/“There are” depends on plurality of the first list element or not? Considering the amount of controversy it aroused, I believe it's past "Learners'" ...
20
votes
6answers
17k views

“There IS/ARE rice, meat and tomatoes on my plate”

I saw this sentence on Internet recently written by a native speaker, so I wondered why native speakers tend to use this grammar. Explain to me why I should I use "is" instead of "are"? Is it ...
19
votes
8answers
6k views

Which way: One and one ARE two? One and one IS two?

Which verb is grammatically correct when used to describe addition? One and one are two. One and one is two.
16
votes
2answers
353 views

How can I explain to a non-native why the plural of a noun isn't used adjectivally?

How can I explain to a non-native speaker that while this is correct: The felling of trees. And this is also correct: tree felling This is not: *trees felling To a non-native it seems ...
15
votes
2answers
5k views

If “Olympics” is singular, why does it use “were”?

Source But the Olympics were really only a staging post in a much more fundamental reshaping of the Chinese capital. On blog.esllibrary.com, I found "Olympics" is a singular: Decision time: ...
15
votes
4answers
183k views

“Hope this help” or “Hope this helps”?

Good evening all, I often see people write "hope this helps" at the end of a communication, especially when they are trying to answer other people's queries about computer problems. Recently, my ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

“From one gift come many”: Why not “comes”?

I want to ask about adding "s" to verbs. Sometimes I don't get an idea how to add this letter. Example, are these sentences correct? Tom buys a car. Tom buys cars. Tom and Ruth buy a car. ...
13
votes
1answer
167 views

“Gave me one of the recipes that were/was”?

I know this is a common question on the web, but I still wasn't sure about this particular sentence. "She gave me one of the recipes that were/was in her personal cookbook." In this sentence, I'm ...
12
votes
5answers
36k views

Is the phrase “Every man, every woman, and every child” singular or plural?

I've come across this sentence: Every man, woman, and child in this line is required to sign the forms in order to complete the registration process.(From Longman Preparation Course for the TOEFL ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Do the brave deserve the fair?

The sentence is: None but the brave _________ the fair. Where the blank is to filled with deserve or deserves. My understanding is that it should be filled with deserve since the sentence here ...
11
votes
4answers
11k views

Is this sentence correct? “A lot of sugar have been added to the milk.”

Is this sentence correct? "A lot of sugar have been added to the milk." Please explain it.
11
votes
5answers
2k views

All he had WAS/WERE bruises and cuts

All he had were bruises and cuts. All he had was bruises and cuts. What are the differences between these sentences? Are they both grammatical and, if so, which one is more natural?
11
votes
2answers
194k views

There has been vs. There have been

Are any of the statements below grammatically correct? If any of them is wrong, what is the correct way to state them? There has been some rapid progress ... There has been some rapid ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

“One fifth of the population is children” or “are children” [duplicate]

Which is correct: One fifth of the population is children. One fifth of the population are children.
11
votes
1answer
5k views

“They each tells a story.”

Which one is correct: They each tells a story. or They each tell a story. Does "each" change the plural form of the verb? Thanks.
10
votes
3answers
814 views

Is “staff” singular or plural?

In the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary there is an example for "get by": We can get by with four computers at the moment, but we'll need a couple more when the new staff arrive. (Emphasis ...
10
votes
3answers
26k views

Can we use “there is” for plural nouns?

Is the following correct: There's a sofa, two armchairs, a TV and a big cage for our parrots. Or should we change it to: There's a sofa, there are two armchairs, there's a TV and a big cage ...
10
votes
5answers
6k views

“Five thousand tons of water flow/flows”?

Every minute, five thousand tons of water flow/flows over a cliff into the river below. Should the verb 'flow' be conjugated in singular or plural in this sentence?
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Is “Your cooking made me happy” acceptable?

Your cooking made me happy. Is this correct? Can "your cooking" be used as a noun? The more I read it, the weirder it sounded to me.
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Is or Are with OR?

Here is my construction, If e1 or e2 are positioned a non-zero angle with respect to f, a single intersection point is directly considered. If e1 is unfixed, the sweeping of e1 through the ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

it is you who has vs. it is you who have

There is already a similar question here, but it is about forming questions: Which is the correct question ("Who has" vs "Who have")? When combining who with you in a statement, ...
8
votes
6answers
33k views

A group of boys is/are [duplicate]

1) A group of boys is playing football. or 2) A group of boys are playing football. My teacher told me the first sentence is correct since of boys can be ignored to make: A group is playing ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

The Beatles were/was

The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960. Source The Beatles were? Aren't/isn't The Beatles a proper noun and it refers to one group? I don't understand why WikiPedia and ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the purpose of using “don't” instead of “doesn't” in this phrase: “But she don't know you like I know you Slim” [duplicate]

I was listening to Eminem's song Stan. I noticed in one verse he says: But she don't know you like I know you Slim... At first I didn't believe my ears, but when I read out the lyrics I got ...
8
votes
3answers
590 views

“the printers is” vs. “the printers are”

As is well known, expressions like "at the printers" or "to the cleaners" can be equivalent to "at the printer's shop" or "to the cleaner's shop" respectively. But if this is so, these expressions ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

“Was” or “were” in sentence where no noun subject exists

I can't figure out if the below sentence should use “was” or “were”, since I'm not sure what the subject of the sentence is. Is the sentence incomplete? How do I handle this kind of sentence, where no ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

“Those whose that is x” vs “Those whose that are x”?

I'm formulating a sentence and as a Swede (non-native English speaker), I couldn't quite figure this one out. I don't know the appropriate linguistic terms for these words, sorry about that. Feel free ...
8
votes
4answers
14k views

Is “who” singular or plural?

Which one of the following is correct: What do residential areas in a big city look like, and who lives there? What do residential areas in a big city look like, and who live there? There ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

Is or are in this context

Which of the following is right in this context? Who is your favourite footballer and cricketer? Who are your favourite footballer and cricketer?
7
votes
3answers
2k views

In the expression “There's got to be some” what does the 's stand for?

I wrote: "Not at all." I kissed her slim curled lips. "There are very few things I want to do that doesn't include you." "There got to be some." A native speaker told me that I needed to ...
7
votes
2answers
26k views

Exist or Exists?

I have seen some texts where it is used "exist" on affirmative sentences. I knew that for affirmative sentences with he/she/it, it must be used S at the end of the verb. For example, a sentence ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

The thing that scares me the most are the little oranges in its stomach

Sally says "The thing that scares me the most are the little oranges in its stomach." at 4:50 in the TV drama "3rd Rock From the Sun S1E3 Dick's First Birthday". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...
7
votes
1answer
330 views

More users equals/equal more profit

I know 'user' is a countable noun and 'users' is plural. So my logic is that it should be 'equal' but I see many instances that people use 'equals' instead. Are people using it incorrectly or is there ...
7
votes
5answers
50k views

“India has” or “India have”

English is not my first language. Sometimes I read some mistakes in newspapers and get confused. Please check below sentences and let me know your valuable feedback. As per newspapers: India ...
7
votes
3answers
60k views

There has vs. There have [duplicate]

Which is the correct form of the sentence? There has been many instances of outbreaks in vaccinated populations vs. There have been many instances of outbreaks in vaccinated populations? The ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

Plural usage of “function”

I always get confused about how to build sentences like these: What is their function? What is their functions? What are their functions? What are their function? I think the last one sounds ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

“The ebb and flow of the tides ARE (IS?) now understood” - compound subject and verb coordination

Correct the sentence: The ebb and flow of the tides / are / now understood. In the above sentence I can go by two ways: First is that according to are I should be using the before flow thus ...
7
votes
2answers
291 views

Schools are the only place or schools are the only places?

Consider the sentences below: "Cinemas are the only places where movies are being played" "Schools are the only place where teachers teach" My gut reaction is that "places" should be in ...
7
votes
2answers
465 views

“My breakfast is milk, bread and sausages.” - Is this correct even though the second part is plural?

My breakfast is milk,bread and sausages. "My breakfast" is a singular noun, but "milk,bread, and sausages" are plural noun phrase. Is this sentence right?
6
votes
5answers
33k views

Should we say “what are your name?” not “what is your name?”?

My student today asked me why we say "what is your name?" instead of "what are your name?". I think we should say "what are your name?" since your/her takes "are"! Please explain. Thank you in ...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

Should it be “runs” or “run” in the following sentence?

I was watching Planet Earth 2 yesterday and came across this line said by David Attenborough: At the first sign of danger, the young ibex instinctively run back to steeper ground. I am thinking it ...
6
votes
2answers
504 views

CM stand for cervical mucus VS CM standS for cervical mucus

What is the correct way? CM stand for cervical mucus (without s in the end of stand) CM standS for cervical mucus (with s in the end of stand)
6
votes
3answers
4k views

What would be the passive voice of this line?

"Little strokes fell great oaks." I think, it's passive voice is "Great oaks was fallen by little strokes." Am I right ?
6
votes
7answers
5k views

Should I use 'is' or 'are' with this complex subject?

What form of to be would be right to use in this case? Why drug abuse in general and cannabis consumption in particular is/are dangerous for your health.