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Grammar 11 - Subject - Verb Agreement - Singular, Plural or Uncountable 1
"The rocket is going to the Moon." - In this sentence 'rocket' is the subject and 'is' and 'going' are agreeing verbs.

Grammar 11 - Subject - Verb Agreement - Singular, Plural or Uncountable 1

The English language is defined primarily by its grammar and parts of speech. The verb is a vital part of speech and along with the noun, another vital part, is an indispensable component of the language. This High English quiz is the first of three on the subject of subject and verb agreement with singular, plural or uncountable nouns.

A verb is an action word and it follows logically that there must be a subject to perform the action, or on whom the action is performed. The subject is referred to by a noun or its pronoun, and when there are two or more nouns in a sentence the subject noun has to be identified. Nouns can be in singular or plural form and nouns can also be countable or uncountable. We need to identify the status of a noun so as to place it appropriately in a sentence.

If in a sentence we are using ‘pen’ we know that pen is a countable noun because it is singular and our sentence concerning the pen will be matching the singular status of the noun. This means that we also look at the verb in the sentence and match the verb to the subject. On the other hand, if we are using ‘pens’ we know that pens is a countable noun and is plural and our sentence changes primarily by the use of an appropriate verb. These two sentences depict the differences where the subject ‘pen’ and ‘pens’ are associated with different verbs:

‘My pen does not write.’
‘My pens do not write.’

Such a relationship between the subject and verb is known as a subject-verb agreement, and it is an important part of grammar.

Often, we make mistakes in using appropriate verbs as we may be making a mistake in identifying the character of a noun. Once we identify the noun it becomes easier to use the appropriate verb. This quiz, and the next four that follow, will take us through the nuances of subject-verb agreement rules and help to improve your grammar.

1.
Choose the set that is not countable nouns from the following.
apple, book, dollar
table, shoe, name
parade, sparrow, village
news, tennis, water
The nouns in option 4 are uncountable nouns. One way to check is to put a number before the noun and check if it makes sense. For instance, you cannot say 'four water' whereas you can say 'four tables.' The words in the other options are all countable nouns
2.
"Is it true that professors from the college are leaving tomorrow?"
Choose the subject and the verb or verbs that agree with the subject from the following.
professors, are leaving
college, are leaving
professors, is
college, is
Note that the noun (professors) is plural and hence the verb uses 'are.' The other options do not have subject-verb agreements
3.
Choose the set of countable plural nouns from the following.
toy, baby, kidney
watch, mouse, bus
people, geese, gentlemen
hair, time, soccer
The nouns in option 3 are countable plural nouns. Note that plurals of these nouns are formed differently (not by adding 's'). The words in options 1 and 2 are countable singular nouns. The words in option 4 are uncountable nouns
4.
Choose the set of countable singular nouns from the following.
bananas, rupees, valleys
constellation, manager, station
milk, sugar, golf
advice, luggage, information
The nouns in option 2 are countable singular nouns. Note that these nouns form their plurals by just adding 's' to the noun (station-stations). The words in option 1 are countable plural nouns. The words in options 3 and 4 are uncountable nouns
5.
"What do geologists know today about earthquakes and how they occur?"
Choose the subject and the verb or verbs that agree with the subject from the following.
geologists, do know
earthquakes, do know
geologists, occur
they, do know
Note that the subject (geologists) is plural and hence the verb is 'do know.' The other options do not have subject-verb agreements
6.
"The star he is going to observe is clearly seen from here."
Choose the subject and the verb or verbs that agree with the subject from the following.
star, is going
he, seen
he, is going
he, is
Note that the pronoun (he) is singular and hence 'is going' is used. The other options do not have subject-verb agreements
7.
"When a tiger encounters humans, it is the humans who run."
Choose the subject and the verb that agrees with the subject from the following.
tiger, is
humans, encounters
tiger, run
tiger, encounters
Note that the subject (tiger) is singular and hence the verb is 'encounters.' The other options do not have subject-verb agreements
8.
"At Bannerghatta Park tigers don’t have names; they have numbers."
Choose the subject and the verb or verbs that agree with the subject from the following.
they, don't have
tigers, don't have
Park, don't have
names, have
Note that the subject (tigers) is plural and hence 'don't have' rather than 'doesn't have.' The other options do not have subject-verb agreements
9.
Choose the set that is not uncountable nouns from the following.
bicycle, goal, home
air, butter, money
bacon, fuel, iron
oil, rubbish, wood
The nouns in option 1 are countable nouns. One way to check is to put a number before the noun and check if it makes sense. For instance, you can say 'five homes' whereas you cannot say 'five air.' The words in the other options are all uncountable nouns
10.
Choose the set that is not uncountable mass nouns from the following.
fun, death, beauty
work, help, sleep
pride, honesty, anger
sheep, fish, deer
The words in option 4 are countable nouns whose singular and plural forms remain the same. The words in option 1 are uncountable mass nouns referring to abstract ideas. The words in option 2 are uncountable mass nouns referring to activities. The words in option 3 are uncountable mass nouns referring to human qualities or feelings. Uncountable nouns are also called mass nouns because they cannot be counted
Author:  V T Narendra

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