Sub Verb Agreement Questions


Sub-verb agreement is a basic grammatical rule that can make or break the credibility of your writing. Simply put, it refers to the agreement between the subject and the verb in a sentence. When the subject and verb match in number and person, the sentence reads and sounds much better.

As a professional, I have come across several sub-verb agreement questions over time. Here are a few common ones that writers often struggle with.

1. “Some of the students (is/are) absent.”

Here, the subject is “some of the students,” which is plural. Therefore, the verb “are” should be used instead of “is.” It is important to remember that when a subject is made up of a group of people or things, the verb should be plural.

2. “The news (is/are) shocking.”

The subject here is “the news,” which is singular. Hence, the verb “is” should be used. It is essential to remember that even if the subject is collective, if it refers to ONE entity, the verb should be singular.

3. “Each of the students (has/have) a book.”

The subject here is “each” which is singular; hence, the verb “has” should be used instead of “have.” When “each,” “every,” “either,” and “neither” are the subject, the verb should be singular.

4. “The number of participants (is/are) increasing.”

Even though “participants” is plural, the subject is “the number,” which is singular. Therefore, the verb “is” should be used.

5. “One of the girls (was/were) late.”

The subject, “one of the girls,” is singular, and the verb “was” should, therefore, be used. When the subject is singular and refers to an individual among many, the verb should be singular.

By following these simple rules of sub-verb agreement, your writing will become much clearer, concise, and easier to read. As a copy editor, ensuring that the subject and verb are in agreement is crucial to delivering a high-quality piece of content that engages and delights readers.