Proper subject and verb agreement is crucial for effective written communication, whether it’s for academic work, professional writing, or SEO content. It is a fundamental aspect of grammar that helps convey meaning and ensures clear communication. This article will provide an in-depth guide on subject-verb agreement with examples to help you understand the concept better.

What is Subject and Verb Agreement?

Subject-verb agreement is the correlation between the subject and the verb in a sentence. The subject is the person, place, or thing that is doing the action in a sentence, while the verb is an action word that describes what the subject is doing. The agreement between subject and verb ensures that the sentence is grammatically correct and conveys the intended meaning.

The Basic Rule: Singular Subject Gets Singular Verb, and Plural Subject Gets Plural Verb

The basic rule for subject-verb agreement is straightforward: a singular subject requires a singular verb, while a plural subject requires a plural verb. For instance:

– The cat is sleeping on the couch. (Singular subject “cat” requires a singular verb “is sleeping”)

– The dogs are barking in the backyard. (Plural subject “dogs” requires a plural verb “are barking”)

Common Problems with Subject and Verb Agreement

In some cases, subject-verb agreement can be tricky. Here are some common problems that writers encounter and ways to avoid them.

1. Compound Subjects

When a sentence has a compound subject (two or more subjects that share the same verb), it is essential to ensure that the verb agrees with the compound subject`s number, whether it is singular or plural. For instance:

– Tom, Mary, and John are going to the party. (Plural subject “Tom, Mary, and John” requires a plural verb “are going”)

– Music and art is/are my favorite subjects. (The verb should agree with the second subject “art,” which is singular. Therefore, the correct verb is “is”)

2. Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns like anyone, everyone, somebody, nobody, and others require special attention when it comes to subject-verb agreement. These pronouns are usually singular and require a singular verb. For instance:

– Everyone in the room is staring at me. (Singular subject “everyone” requires a singular verb “is staring”)

– Neither of the options is appealing. (Singular subject “neither” requires a singular verb “is”)

3. Collective Nouns

A collective noun is a single noun that represents a group of people, animals, or things. Collective nouns can be singular or plural, depending on the context. If you are referring to the group as a single entity, use a singular verb. If you are referring to the individuals within the group, use a plural verb. For instance:

– The team is practicing for the match. (Singular verb because the team is considered a single unit)

– The team are arguing over who gets to start the game. (Plural verb because the individuals in the team are arguing)

4. Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases, such as “along with,” “as well as,” and “in addition to,” can create confusion in subject-verb agreement. These phrases provide additional information about the subject but do not change the subject`s number. The verb should agree with the subject only. For instance:

– My mother, along with my siblings, is watching the movie. (Singular subject “my mother” requires a singular verb “is watching”)

– The company, as well as its subsidiaries, are launching new products. (Plural subject “the company” requires a plural verb “are launching”)


Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of grammar that ensures clear communication and meaningful writing. Following the basic rule, singular subject gets singular verb, and plural subject gets plural verb is fundamental. However, some situations can make subject-verb agreement tricky. Still, with the examples provided, you can navigate through them and communicate your intended meaning effectively. Remember, for your writing to be effective, you must ensure proper subject and verb agreement.