Agreeement

Report
A phrase or clause between subject and
verb does not change the number of the
subject.
1.




Ex: The women were bored.  The women who
went to the meeting were bored.
The women were bored, not the meeting.
Ex: The can sits on the shelf.  The can of
green beans sits on the shelf.
The can sits on the shelf, not the green beans.
2. Indefinite Pronouns as subjects:



Singular indefinite pronoun subjects take
singular verbs.
Singular indefinite pronouns include:
each
either
neither
none
no one
nobody
nothing
anyone
anybody
anything
someone
somebody
something
everyone
everybody
everything
Ex: Each worker does a good job.
Plural indefinite pronouns take plural verbs



Plural indefinite pronouns include:
both
many
few
several
Ex: Both workers do a good job.
Some indefinite pronouns may be either
singular or plural: with uncountable,
use singular; with countable, use plural.




These pronouns include:
some
any
none all
most
Ex: Some of the sugar is on the floor. (uncountable)
Ex: Some of the marbles are on the floor.
(countable)
Compound Subjects:
 Joined by and are ALWAYS plural:

Ex: A pencil and an eraser make writing easier.
 Joined
by or/nor – the verb agrees with the
subject CLOSEST to it:

Ex: Neither the director nor the actors are
following the lines closely.
 Collective
Nouns may be singular or plural,
depending on the meaning.


Collective nouns include such words as:
group
crowd
Senate
jury
team
Ex: The jury has awarded custody to the
grandmother.


The jury is acting as one unit; therefore it is singular.
Jury – singular; has – singular.
Ex: The jury (members) have been arguing for
five days.

The jury members are acting as twelve individuals;
therefore the verb is plural.
A pronoun is a word that stands in the place of a
noun.
 A word can refer to an earlier noun or pronoun in
the sentence.



We do not talk or write this way. Automatically,
we replace the noun Lincoln's with a
pronoun. More naturally, we say:


Ex: President Lincoln delivered Lincoln’s Gettysburg
Address in 1863.
President Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address in
1863.
The pronoun his refers to President Lincoln.
 In
the previous example, the pronoun his is
called the REFERENT because it "refers
back.“
 It
refers back to President Lincoln, the
ANTECEDENT. An antecedent is a word for
which a pronoun stands. (ante = "before")
 The
pronoun must agree with its antecedent
in number.
 Rule:
A singular pronoun must
replace a singular noun; a plural
pronoun must replace a plural noun
 Thus,
the mechanics of the sentence
above look like this:
A
phrase or clause between the subject and
verb does not change the number of the
antecedent.

Ex: The can of green beans sits on its shelf. (The
can sits on its shelf.)
 Singular
indefinite pronoun antecedents
take singular pronoun referents.

Ex: Each of the workers does a good job making
a profit with his or her projects.
 Plural
indefinite pronoun antecedents
require plural referents.

Ex: Both of the workers do a good job making a
profit with their projects.
 Remember
those pronouns that could take
either singular OR plural verbs? (some, any
none, all, most)
 If they are modified by a prepositional
phrase, they may be either singular or
plural.




When the object of the phrase is uncountable
use a singular referent pronoun.
Ex: Some of the sugar fell out of its bag.
When the object of the phrase is countable, use
a plural referent pronoun:
Ex: Some of the marbles fell out of their bag.
Compound Subjects:
 Joined by and always take a plural referent:

Ex: Mark and Tim did their presentation.
 Joined
by or/nor – the referent pronoun
agrees with the antecedent closer to the
pronoun:


Ex: Neither the director nor the actors did their
jobs.
Ex: Neither the actors nor the director did his or
her job.
 Collective
Nouns (group, jury, crowd, team,
etc.) may be singular or plural, depending on
meaning.

Ex:The jury read its verdict.


In this example, the jury is acting as one unit;
therefore, the referent pronoun is singular.
Ex: The jury (members) gave their individual
opinions.

The jury members are acting as twelve individuals;
therefore the verb is plural.
 Every
or Many a before a noun or a series of
nouns requires a singular referent.


Ex: Every cow, pig, and sheep had lost its life in
the fire.
Ex: Many a girl wishes she could dance like Lady
Gaga.
 The
number of vs. A number of before a
subject:

The number of is singular.


Ex: The number of volunteers increases its ranks daily.
A number of is plural.

Ex: A number of volunteers are offering their help.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Emily and Greg (come) (comes) to my house for
lunch every Friday.
There (is) (are) time to watch the movie.
My friends who are in the band (want) (wants)
me to play a musical instrument.
My dad or my brothers (is) (are) coming with
me to the baseball game.
Everyone (need) (needs) time to relax.
That bag of grapes (look) (looks) moldy.
The HCHS girls’ track team (hopes) (hope) to
win the state tournament again next year.
Some of the books on the shelf (is) (are) dusty.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
During early rehearsals, an actor may
forget (his or her) (their) lines.
Some of the money fell out of (its) (their)
bag during the robbery.
A person needs to see (his or her) (their)
dentist twice a year.
The committee put (its) (their) signature/s
on the document.
If any one of the sisters needs a ride, (she)
(they) can call me.
When someone has been drinking, (he or
she) (they) may get into an accident.
 http://www.towson.edu/ows/sub-
verb.htm#rules
 http://www.towson.edu/ows/pro_antagree.
htm
 http://www.towson.edu/ows/exercisepaagr.htm
 http://wwwnew.towson.edu/ows/exercisesu
b-verb.htm

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