Subject-verb agreement is one of the fundamental rules of English grammar. It states that the verb in a sentence should agree with the subject in number and person. This may seem like a simple rule to follow, but there are some tricky instances, especially when it comes to plural nouns.
Plural nouns are words that refer to more than one person, place, thing, or idea. Examples of plural nouns include books, chairs, dogs, and ideas. When using a plural noun as the subject of a sentence, it is essential to ensure that the verb agrees with it in number. This means that if the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural.
For instance, take the sentence, “The boys play soccer.” Here, “boys” is a plural noun, and “play” is the plural form of the verb “to play.” Both the subject and the verb agree in number, so this sentence is grammatically correct.
However, when the plural noun is not the direct subject, it can be challenging to determine the correct form of the verb. Let`s take a look at the following examples:
1. The team of players is practicing.
2. The team of players are practicing.
In the first sentence, “team” is the subject, and it is singular. Therefore, the singular verb “is” correctly agrees with it. In the second sentence, “players” is a plural noun, but it is not the direct subject of the sentence. Instead, “team” is the subject, and it is singular. Therefore, the correct verb form is “is” rather than “are.”
Here is another example:
1. The number of students who passed the exam is high.
2. The number of students who passed the exam are high.
In this case, “number” is the subject, and it is singular, so the correct verb form is “is.” Even though “students” is a plural noun, it is not the direct subject of the sentence, so “are” is not the correct verb form.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement with plural nouns can be tricky, but it is crucial to ensure clear communication and adherence to proper grammar rules. Remember that if the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural, but if the plural noun is not the direct subject, you need to pay attention to the number of the subject to determine the correct verb form. By following this simple rule, you can avoid common errors and become a better writer and communicator.