We have looked at various aspects of subject-verb agreements in the last three High English Grammar quizzes. This is the first of two quizzes concentrating on whether to use singular or plural verbs with two or more connected singular nouns.
We know that, in English grammar, subjects are represented by nouns and nouns are of different types. Three of the ways in which nouns are categorised include countable (singular and plural), uncountable and collective nouns. These nouns have a bearing on the sentences we construct because they represent subjects. When we want some action to be described we have to use verbs and subject-verb agreements become very important.
Firstly, we have to identify the subjects and determine whether they are represented by countable, uncountable or collective nouns. Then we have to determine whether the nouns are singular or plural. Further, if the sentence contains more than one noun, we have to identify the subject noun on whom the action verb has to be associated.
Once the type of noun has been determined then it becomes easier to use the required verb. Verbs do follow certain conventions and generally fall into two types represented by either a singular verb or a plural verb, which is related to the noun being associated with it. For instance, the sentence ‘one of my dogs are an Alsatian’ has the wrong subject-verb agreement. The correct usage is ‘one of my dogs is an Alsatian.’ The tendency to use ‘are’ could stem from the fact that ‘dogs’ is used. However, when you check ‘one of my dogs,’ it talks about a single dog and hence the use of the singular verb ’is.’
In the case of two or more singular nouns connected by ‘and’ the plural verb is used. For instance, ‘Arpana and Trupti are sisters’ is the correct usage and not ‘Arpana and Trupti is sisters.’
In another instance of two or more singular nouns connected by ‘and’ where one idea is expressed the singular verb is used. For instance, ‘his uncle and guardian wants him to study engineering’ is the correct usage and not , ‘his uncle and guardian want him to study engineering.’ Practice is the best form of study to understand the nuances of English grammar, and the quiz that follows helps you to do just that.