Rule 1. A singular subject requires a singular verb and a plural subject requires a plural verb.
Example: Cedric is an American. We are going to the beach.
Rule 2: Indefinite pronouns may require the singular or plural form of the verb depending on the pronoun used.
Examples: 1. Someone is knocking on the door. (Singular) 2. Nothing seems to be correct. (Singular) 3. Some chocolates are sugar free. (Plural) 4. Few men are loyal to their partners. (Plural)
Rule 3. Non-count Nouns require a singular verb.
Examples: 1. The feedback was not good. 2. The furniture is wet. 3. The equipment is for delivery.
Rule 4. When the subject consists of two nouns that refer to two different things or persons and are connected by “and”, the plural form of the verb is used.
Examples: 1. Salt and pepper are ingredients for cooking. 2. Pen and paper are needed for the exam.
Rule 4.1: When the subject consists of two nouns that refer to the same thing or person and are connected by “and”, the singular form of the verb is used.
Examples: 1. My friend and colleague is leaving tonight. 2. My sister and best friend lives in Spain.
Rule 5. When a collective noun is regarded as a single unit, the singular form of the verb is used, when it is regarded as a collection of separate units, the plural form of the verb is used.
Examples: 1. The team has left the operations area. 2. The team have different opinions about the incident.
Rule 6. The title of books and movies uses the singular form of the verb except if you are pertaining to more than one.
Examples: 1. The Planet of the Apes is a sci-fi film. 2. Harry Potter Series and Narnia 1 & 2 are my favorite movies.
Rule 7. A noun that refers to time, amount, distance, and measurement requires a singular form of the verb even if it (noun) is in plural form.
Examples: 1. Two hours was given to finish the exam. (Time) 2. Three feet is the length of the ribbon. (Measurement) 3. Six kilometers is the distance from here to my house. (Distance) 4. Four million dollars was stolen from the bank. (Amount)
Rule 8. Expression of fraction and proportion may be considered singular or plural depending on the noun after it.
Examples: 1. 1/2 of the students are coming to watch and play. (Plural) 2. 2/3 cup of milk was spilled. (Singular)
Rule 9. Intervening words (acting as adjectives) and phrases (in condition to, together with, as well as, including, etc.) do not affect the verb.
Examples: 1. The bundle of paper was given to the teacher. (Intervening words) 2. History, as well as English, is my favorite subject. (Singular) 3. My parents, together with my sister, are going to France. (Plural) 4. The sheets of evaluation are scattered on the floor. (Intervening words)
Rule 10. Neither and either require a singular verb. Not only… but also requires a plural verb.
Examples: 1. Either of the girls is invited to the dance. 2. Neither of the boys is guilty.
Rule 11. When the subject consists of two or more nouns joined by “or”, “either… or”, and “neither… nor”, the verb agrees with the noun nearest to it.
Examples: 1. Either Susan or my friends are going to the beach. 2. Neither Chloe nor Denise has arrived. 3. Tony or Lisa was asked to attend the meeting.
Rule 12. When the expression “the number of” comes before the subject, the singular form of the verb is used; when the expression “a number of” comes before the subject, the verb should be plural.
Examples: 1. A number of modules were lost yesterday. (Plural) 2. The number of people who came was few. (Singular)