Singular and plural forms of verbs-
When the subject in the third person, the verb will take either the singular form (with an 's' ending) or the plural form, depending on whether the subject is singular or plural. For example:
This book is difficult to read.
This books are difficult to read.
here the verb 'is' agrees with the singular subject (book) and 'are' agrees with the plural subject ('books). This is known as agreement concord.
When the verb is in past tense there is no need for agreement between the subject and verb. There is only one past tense form, which can be used with plural as well as singular subjects. For example:
The boys went home last night. (plural)
The boy went home last night. (singular)
Modals have the same form when used with either singular or plural subjects. For example:
The boys can go home. (plural)
The boy can go home. (singular)
Singular and plural subjects
1. Two or more nouns joined by and take a plural verb.
Mili and Bina are friends.
Oil and water don't mix.
But when the two nouns joined by and take a plural verb.
Bread and butter is all we eat for breakfast.
2. A phrase of measurement, thought of as a single unit, takes a singular verb.
Fifty rupees is not a big amount.
Sixty feet is not too far to through a ball.
When titles and names refer to one thing, we use a singular verb.
Sons and Lovers is a power ful novel.
Zindal steel is a well known business firm.
3. When two phrases are joined by either ....or, the verb usually agrees with the nearest phrase.
Either Ram or Shyam........................
Either the boys or the girls...................
Either the boys or girl are in the field.
4. When the subject is a noun phrase with as well as and with, the verb agrees only with the first noun. For example:
His mother as well as his father walking in the Garden.
The girls, together with their friend, are having a party tonight.
5. After not only......but also, the verb agrees with the nearest phrase.
Not only his father but also his brother were playing cricket on Today.
6. A clause used as the subject takes a singular verb.
7. A singular verb is used after the subject with one of.
One the balls is missing.
8. We generally use a plural verb when a plural noun follows number of, majority of or a lot of.
- A large number of workers are on strike.
- A lot of peoples have lost their homes.
- A majority of man in this village are illiterate.
large number of workers are on strike.
c. Nouns with only a plural form
1. Some nouns are found only in their plural form(with an 's' ending). They are followed by plural verb as shown.
- These clothes are made of synthetic material.
2. Names of many of the subjects generally take an 's' ending, but are used with singular verbs. For example.(Mathematics,Chemistry,etc)
- Physics is an interesting subject.
3. Some nouns used to refer to games and sports also ends with 's'.
atheletics, gymnastics, billiarards,etc.
These objects consist of two 'parts' of same kind. We do not use use always the phrase' a pair of .....' when reffering to such objects. For example:-
Get me a pair of scissors. (This refers single object not two of them)
Where are my scissors.
Words like scissors,glasses, are followed by plural verbs.
Other 'pair nouns' are : Trousers,pants,shirts,jeans etc.
Group nouns are also called as collective nouns. It refers to a group of people, e.g. crowd, committe, cops etc.
These are used eithther with singular and plural verbs.
A singular verb is used if we think about the group of the single unit whereas in case of group as made up of separate individuals, we use a plural verb. It depends upon our thinking, whether a family as a group or single individual.
Words such as police,people,cattle,poultry have a plural meaning and take a plural verb.
The police are questioning the suspects.