High School English Quiz - Grammar 12 - Subject - Verb Agreement - Singular, Plural or Uncountable 2 (Questions)

In the previous High English quiz we learnt about countable and uncountable nouns. We feel that we know all about countable and uncountable nouns. In our many English lessons of the past we must have come across many words that seem to be singular countable nouns but in reality are not. Similarly, we find words that seem to be plural nouns but when we use them in sentences we use verbs that are used for singular nouns. It is imperative that we learn about such words so as not to make mistakes in our written or spoken English. This is the second of three quizzes on the subject of subject and verb agreement for singular, plural or uncountable nouns, to help clarify matters.

The ‘news’ in our newspaper appears to be plural but when used in a sentence its agreement is with a singular verb, like so:

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‘I am dismayed that the news is not favourable.’

Note that we use ‘is’ and not ‘are’ in this sentence. Here are some other words that follow the same pattern:

Politics
Physics
Economics
Athletics

There are some words that use the plural form of the verb. For instance, we would have read about the ‘earnings’ of a company in the financial section of a newspaper and typically this word uses a plural form, like so:

'My earnings were good last month.'

Note that we use 'were' rather than 'was'. Here are some other words that follow the same pattern:

Scissors
Trousers
Shorts

Each of these three items predominantly comprises of two parts and in order to name one item we use 'a pair' like so:

‘A pair of shorts.’
‘A pair of trousers,'
'A pair of scissors.'

Another facet of countable nouns is the fact that there are some nouns which end with the letter ‘s’ in both the singular and plural forms. For instance, analysis-analyses; crisis-crises and oasis-oases are pairs of words ending with ‘s.’ The two sentences ‘the crisis was overcome’ and ‘the crises were overcome’ are both correct. In the first sentence we are talking about a single crisis and in the second sentence we are talking about multiple crises.

Yet another facet of countable nouns is seen in hyphenated words such as sister-in-law. The plural of sister-in-law is sisters-in-law and not sister-in-laws.

In this second quiz on subject-verb agreement with countable and uncountable nouns we learn how to use some of the nouns that do not follow conventions.

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1. Choose the set that comprises uncountable nouns.
[ ] surveillance, hurt, entertainment, rice
[ ] coin, cup, suitcase, bag
[ ] louse, ox, child, tooth
[ ] church, mosquito, story, country
2. Choose the set that does not comprise uncountable nouns.
[ ] Hindi, English, French
[ ] photography, grammar, poetry
[ ] humidity, lightning, darkness
[ ] knives, thieves, wives
3. Which of the following does not take a singular verb?
[ ] A gang of robbers
[ ] A couple of friends
[ ] A herd of cattle
[ ] Aerobics
4. Which of the following sets does not take a singular verb?
[ ] parenthesis, basis, thesis
[ ] bystander, cartoon, saucer
[ ] hypotheses, oases, diagnoses
[ ] river, mountain, hill
5. Choose the sentence that is correct.
[ ] Earnings is a problem this quarter.
[ ] Statistics are a good subject.
[ ] Billiards are a popular game.
[ ] No news is good news.
6. Choose the sentence that is correct.
[ ] I have four step-daughters.
[ ] I have four steps-daughter.
[ ] I have four daughter-in-laws.
[ ] I have four daughter.
7. Choose the sentence that is incorrect.
[ ] The governors-general are all old men.
[ ] The three sisters-in-law fight among themselves regularly.
[ ] The factorys that I run are huge.
[ ] I have four step-brothers.
8. Choose the sentence or sentences that are correct.
[ ] Is the furniture matching the drapes?
[ ] Have you got the socks? Yes, I have worn them.
[ ] What are scissors used for? Scissors are used for cutting cloth.
[ ] All of the above are correct.
9. Choose the sentence with the correct subject-verb agreement.
[ ] The girl whom you saw running in the park is my sisters.
[ ] The girls whom you saw running in the park is my sister.
[ ] The girl whom you saw running in the park are my sister.
[ ] The girl whom you saw running in the park is my sister.
10. Choose the sentence with the correct subject-verb agreement.
[ ] The elephants which strayed from the Bandipur forest were found on the tar road inside the forest.
[ ] The elephants which strayed from the Bandipur forest was found on the tar road inside the forest.
[ ] The elephant which strayed from the Bandipur forest were found on the tar road inside the forest.
[ ] The elephants which strayed from the Bandipur forest is found on the tar road inside the forest.
High School English Quiz - Grammar 12 - Subject - Verb Agreement - Singular, Plural or Uncountable 2 (Answers)
1. Choose the set that comprises uncountable nouns.
[x] surveillance, hurt, entertainment, rice
[ ] coin, cup, suitcase, bag
[ ] louse, ox, child, tooth
[ ] church, mosquito, story, country
Surveillance, hurt, entertainment and rice are uncountable nouns representing activity, feeling, concept and substance respectively. Option 2 comprises countable nouns that become plurals with the addition of 's.' Option 3 comprises countable nouns that become plurals uniquely. In option 4 church and mosquito are countable nouns that become plural with the addition of 'es;' story and country are also countable nouns that become plurals by removing 'y' and adding 'ies'
2. Choose the set that does not comprise uncountable nouns.
[ ] Hindi, English, French
[ ] photography, grammar, poetry
[ ] humidity, lightning, darkness
[x] knives, thieves, wives
Knives, thieves, and wives are nouns that are plural forms of the countable nouns knife, thief and wife respectively. The nouns in the other options are uncountable nouns. The words in option 1 are all names of languages. The words in option 2 are all names of subjects. The words in option 3 are all ways of describing weather
3. Which of the following does not take a singular verb?
[ ] A gang of robbers
[x] A couple of friends
[ ] A herd of cattle
[ ] Aerobics
Remember that 'a couple' consists of two people and hence it would take a plural verb. The words in options 1 and 3 would take on a singular verb because the sentences talk about 'a gang' and 'a herd.' Aerobics is an uncountable noun describing an activity and hence does not have a plural form but only a singular form
4. Which of the following sets does not take a singular verb?
[ ] parenthesis, basis, thesis
[ ] bystander, cartoon, saucer
[x] hypotheses, oases, diagnoses
[ ] river, mountain, hill
Hypotheses, oases, and diagnoses are the plural forms of hypothesis, oasis and diagnosis and hence would take a plural verb. Option 1 comprises words which are singular and their plurals are formed by replacing the 'i' with 'e.' The other options comprise words that take singular verbs and are countable nouns and their plurals are formed by adding 's' to the word
5. Choose the sentence that is correct.
[ ] Earnings is a problem this quarter.
[ ] Statistics are a good subject.
[ ] Billiards are a popular game.
[x] No news is good news.
Though it ends in 's' 'news' is an uncountable noun and hence the use of the singular 'is.' 'Earnings' is actually an uncountable noun but plural in nature and hence 'is' is the wrong usage. Subjects and sports/games are uncountable nouns without a plural form
6. Choose the sentence that is correct.
[x] I have four step-daughters.
[ ] I have four steps-daughter.
[ ] I have four daughter-in-laws.
[ ] I have four daughter.
The plural of step-daughter is step-daughters. Option 2 is the wrong plural usage of step-daughter. In option 3 the plural of daughter-in-law should be daughters-in-law. In option 4 the plural of daughter (daughters) should have been used
7. Choose the sentence that is incorrect.
[ ] The governors-general are all old men.
[ ] The three sisters-in-law fight among themselves regularly.
[x] The factorys that I run are huge.
[ ] I have four step-brothers.
The plural of factory is factories. The other options all use the correct plurals
8. Choose the sentence or sentences that are correct.
[ ] Is the furniture matching the drapes?
[ ] Have you got the socks? Yes, I have worn them.
[ ] What are scissors used for? Scissors are used for cutting cloth.
[x] All of the above are correct.
All the options are correct sentences. In option 1 furniture is an uncountable noun which describes pieces of furniture items. It does not have a plural and hence the verb used is 'is.' The words in options 2 and 3 are uncountable nouns that are treated as plural nouns because they contain items which are always in pairs. They do not have a singular form by themselves. However, we can say 'get me a pair of scissors' or 'get me four pairs of scissors'
9. Choose the sentence with the correct subject-verb agreement.
[ ] The girl whom you saw running in the park is my sisters.
[ ] The girls whom you saw running in the park is my sister.
[ ] The girl whom you saw running in the park are my sister.
[x] The girl whom you saw running in the park is my sister.
'Girl' is the subject and a singular noun and 'is' is the correct verb. The other options are wrong as they do not have verbs that agree with the subject
10. Choose the sentence with the correct subject-verb agreement.
[x] The elephants which strayed from the Bandipur forest were found on the tar road inside the forest.
[ ] The elephants which strayed from the Bandipur forest was found on the tar road inside the forest.
[ ] The elephant which strayed from the Bandipur forest were found on the tar road inside the forest.
[ ] The elephants which strayed from the Bandipur forest is found on the tar road inside the forest.
'Elephants' is the subject and a plural noun so 'were' is the correct verb. The other options are wrong as they do not have verbs that agree with the subject