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Subject and Verb Agreement

A verb changes its form to agree with its subject

  1. If the subject is in the first person, the second person, or in the plural form, the verb does not change form. For example:
    • I write,
    • You write,
    • We write,
    • Boys write,
    • They write,
    • Others write, etc.
  2. If the subject is in the third person and in the singular number, an ‘s’ is added to its verb. For example:
    • It rains,
    • He writes well, etc.
  3. A verb adds an ‘s’ if a singular subject in the third person is followed by: ‘with’, ‘as well as’, ‘like’, ‘in addition to’, etc. For example:
    • The boy, with his sisters, always comes late to school
    • Segun, like Dotun, hates history
    • The man, as well as his children, enjoys reading the dailies
  4. If two singular subjects in the third person are joined by ‘and’, the verb does not change form. For example:
    • Joseph and Sadie love history
    • The boy and his sister always come late to school
  5. These subjects are always singular and must be followed by verbs in singular:
    1. Another is sure to come
    2. Anybody has a right to attend
    3. Each of the pupils has a pen
    4. Has either of the twins come?
    5. Neither of the sisters is good at sewing
    6. One of them has just arrived
    7. No one has yet finished
    8. None of the robbers is set free
    9. Anyone is free to answer the question
    10. Someone knocks at the door
    11. Nobody writes when the teacher talks
    12. Everybody is prepared to go
    13. Everybody understands him
    14. Somebody is waiting for you outside
  6. The subjects are always plural and must have plural verbs: few, both, many, several, all, some, etc. For example:
    • A few of the boys are present
    • Both of the boys are wanted by the headmaster
    • Many are called but few are chosen
    • Several of the men on the field have no cutlasses
    • Some of them make good grades in the examination