Subjects that are singular nouns in the third person require singular verbs (Vs—inflected)
Group 1: Indefinite Pronouns
The accompanying prepositional phrase and compounding of the subject do not affect the singularity of the verb.
Neither of the participants moves for a postponement.
Every resident and storeowner takes care of his immediate area to clean.
Group 2: Terms of weight, amount, distance, periods of time, and titles of books
12 c.c. of sulfuric acid was poured.
Ten years is a considerable time to wait.
Group 3: Nouns ending in “-ics” denoting a branch of knowledge take a Vs; but when they refer to practices, activities, facts, and qualities, they take a Vo.
The statistics (data) prove that women outlive men.
Statistics is a research-oriented subject.
Group 4: Nouns regarded as units.
ham and eggs
rice and fish
bread and butter
science and technology
research and development
technique and resources
Group 5: Much (for uncountable nouns) and its substitute expressions.
a great quantity (of)
a large quantity (of)
a great deal (of)
a good deal (of)
Group 6: “the number”
The number of patients who are recovering from the infection is steadily increasing.
Group 7: Determiners (a few, a couple of)
A few is all we need for the experiment.
Group 8: “Series,” “segment,” “portion,” “fragment,” or “part” remains singular even if modified by plural words.
A series of small mistakes leads to a big disaster.
Group 9: Clausal subject (when a clause functions as a subject, a singular verb is used.
What they want is demonstrations nationwide.
Group 10: Collective nouns (audience, committee, crowd, group, team, family, personnel, staff) as one unit use the Vs. But when consider the group’s members as individuals who act separately, the Vo (the uninflected form of the verb) is used.
The more recent usage is to rephrase:
The old team have split and gone their separate ways.
The members of the old group have split and gone their separate ways.
However, a collective adjective-based noun always takes a plural Vo:
The rich are usually complacent.
The poor have so many challenges to overcome.
“Majority” behaves like a collective noun, and takes either a singular verb as a unit or a plural verb with the individuals is taken singly.
Majority of the respondents opts for an increase.
Majority of the family members disagree to the plan.
(Note: dissension or division usually signals a plural verb)
Group 11: Arithmetical operations (additions, subtraction, multiplication, division)
Forty-three minus four is thirty-nine.
Subjects requiring plural verbs (Vo—uninflected verb)
Group 1: Many (countable nouns) and its substitute expressions
a great number (of) a large number (of) a good number (of)
Group 2: “A number of”
A number of students have left the auditorium.
Group 3: Nouns plural in form and number
Group 4: Nouns, pronouns, and determiners with plural meanings
VS or Vo depending on the subject or antecedent
Group 1: A linking verb agrees with its subject, not with the subjective complement. In certain contents, the complement has to agree with subject.
The working force is three men, and four women.
His sole support is his mother and father.
Group 2: The number of the noun in the prepositional phrase determines the adoption of a Vs or Vo.
a lot of
none (used more with Vo for people)
Two thirds of our time was wasted.
Two thirds of the people oppose the tax.
Group 3: “Here” and “there” are dummy subjects only; thus, the verb agrees in number with the delayed subjects.
There comes a time when you have to grow up.
Here are the keys to the rooms in the dorm.
Group 4: Intervening expressions have no bearing on the verb; only the subject has.
in addition to
as well as
Team Gilas, together with their coaches, travels to New Zealand for an exhibition game.
Group 5: Affirmative subjects prevail over the negative.
The students, not the adviser, are responsible for the schedule of the activities.
Group 6: Antecedents determine the number of the relative pronouns who, that, which
I regard the domestic helper as someone who simply serves to earn, not as a dependent who stays to be a parasite.
Note: One of the committee members notes that candidate’s smoking habits.
But: My friend is one of the committee members who are observing the candidates. (the antecedent “who” is “members”; this means that there are many members observing and my friend is simply one of them.)
Group 7: The rules on Noun-Verb agreement are followed in the concordance between pronouns and antecedents.
Mark or Liza has to raise her voice to be heard.
Neither the students nor the adviser has to affix his signature on the contract.
Everyone brings his or her packed lunch.
Group 8: A wh-question takes a Vs when no plural noun accompanies it.
Who plans to attend the party?
Which consumes more electricity?
Who of your friends plan to attend the party?
Which gadgets consume a lot of electricity?
These two cases are exempt from the subject-verb agreement rules
Group 1: That-clauses with “advise, “ask,” “demand,” “insist,” “recommended,” “request,” and “urge” in the main clause.
The college requires that a freshman reach a cut-off grade.
The committee recommends that the applicant submit a resume.
Group 2: That-clauses with the main clause adjectives “important,” “imperative,” and “vital.”
It is important that she be informed on time.
It was imperative that the chairperson act immediately.
What is vital is that he remain calm.
Other clausal/phrasal subjects
Group 1: Infinitive (to+V)
To be accepted by the peer group is an adolescent need.
For him to stay on as president is acceptable to the majority.
Group 2: Participial (V-ing)
Students loitering along the corridors during class hours creates a disturbance.
Teenagers neglecting their studies results in regrets later.
Group 3: Prepositional phrases
Under the trees by the grotto provides a comfortable study place.
Between now and tomorrow gives ample time to brainstorm.
Group 4: That clause
That our economy may improve inspires Filipinos to stay.
Group 5: Wh-clause
What keeps us hopeful is the new politics.