CBSE Class 10 English Grammar – Subject-Verb Concord

A verb must agree with its Number and Person.
In other words, the Verb of a sentence agrees with the Number and Person of the Subject of that sentence.
Error of Proximity
Often, the ‘Verb’ is made to agree in number with a norm near it instead of its proper Subject. It is an error. This common error is called the ‘Error of Proximity’. It should be avoided. The verb must agree with its proper Subject.

  1. The price of the apples was very high. (✓)
  2. The price of the apples were very high. (✗)

Sentence no. 2 is wrong because in it the verb ‘were’ is wrongly agreed with the noun ‘apples’ near it. It is an Error of Proximity.

1. Number
The basic principle of Subject-Verb agreement is that singular subjects need singular verbs. Plural subjects need plural verbs:
181-1

2. Person:
The rules regarding the person are as follows:
(i) The first person singular or plural takes a singular verb:

  • I like this scenery.
  • We like this scenery.

(ii) The second person singular or plural takes a singular verb:

  • You like this scenery.

(iii) The third-person singular takes a singular verb:

  • He likes this scenery.

(v) The third person plural takes a plural verb:

  • They like this scenery.

3. Uncountable Noun:
When we use an uncountable noun as the subject of a verb, we use a singular form of the verb:

  • Honesty is the best policy.
  • Fear begins to haunt him.

4. Singular and Plural Nouns:
When we use a singular noun as the subject of a verb, we use a singular verb. Plural nouns take a plural verb:

  • The moon was shining in the sky.
  • The sun is about to set.
  • The children were swimming.
  • The farmers were ploughing.

5. One of + Plural Noun:
When the subject consists of ‘one of + plural noun’, the verb is singular:

  • One of the girls was singing.
  • One of the students was talking.
  • One of the birds was chirping.

6. Long Subject:
When a clause or a long group of words is the subject, we have to be careful to make the verb agree with the subject:

  • The chairs which I bought yesterday are very costly.
  • The woman whom I met in the market was my friend’s sister.

7. Introductory ‘there’:
The verb has to agree with the real subject that follows the introductory there. If the subject is singular, then there will be followed by a singular verb. If the real subject is plural, then ‘there’ will be followed by a plural verb:

  • There is no chair in the room.
  • There are no chairs in the room.
  • There are fifty boys in the class.
  • There is one girl in the class.

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8. Two or More Nouns:
When two or more nouns function as the subject, a plural verb is used:

  • Satish and his sister have gone to see a movie.
  • My friend and his father are meeting us tomorrow.

9. Distances, Weight, etc:
For distances, weight, height or amounts of money, we use a singular verb even when the subject is plural:

  • Ten thousand rupees is not a small sum.
  • Three kilometers is a small distance.
  • Five hundred feet above sea level is not a great height.

10. Plural Names:
The title of a book, the name of a house or a hotel in plural takes a singular verb:

  • “The Arabian Nights” has interesting stories.
  • “The Hotel Brewers” is a five-star hotel.

11. Plural Nouns with Singular Meaning:
Nouns which are plural in form but singular in meaning usually take a singular verb:

  • Mathematics is not an easy subject.
  • Economics is a dull subject.
  • Measles is an infectious disease.
  • The latest news is that the criminal has been arrested.

12. Singular Nouns with Plural Verb:
Some nouns which appear to be singular in form take a plural verb:

  • The police have arrested three terrorists.
  • The Indian cricket team won the match.

13. Collective nouns like group, crowd, flock, regiment, etc. are generally followed by a singular verb:

  • A group of boys was playing in the ground.
  • A crowd of people rashes into the hall.
  • A regiment of soldiers was marching towards the town.

14. ‘Class’ nouns such as food, furniture, clothing, etc. take a singular verb:

  • This furniture is very old.
  • This imported cutlery is very costly.
  • His clothing consists of a bullet-proof jacket, a blue pair of trousers and some other items.

15. Some nouns which appear to be plural in form when preceded by a pair of take a singular verb, for example, shoes, scissors, trousers, etc.

  • A pair of scissors was taken out of the drawer.
  • A pair of trousers was washed by the servant.
  • A pair of shoes was bought by him.

But when these nouns are used without ‘a pair of’, they take a plural verb:

  • His shoes have worn out.
  • My scissors do not cut well.

16. Some nouns are preceded by a lot of, a plenty of, a great deal of, etc. These nouns take a singular verb when they refer to amount or quantity. But they take a plural verb when they refer to number:

  • A lot of people visit the exhibition.
  • A plenty o,f water was supplied to the villagers.

17. When a singular subject is joined by as well as, in addition to, except, etc. with another noun or pronoun, we use a singular verb.

  • Sohan as well as his brother has come.
  • My father in addition to our neighbour has gone out for a walk.
  • Everyone except Satish was present.

18. A singular verb is used with singular pronouns, e.g. each, either, neither, anyone, etc.

  • Each of the boys was given a prize.
  • Neither of the students was absent.
  • Everybody has helped her.

19. When two or more subjects are connected by nor or or, the verb is used according to the number of the noun nearest to it:

  • Neither she nor her sisters visit the temple.
  • Either they or he is telling a lie.

20. A collective noun such as jury, committee, family, etc. takes a singular verb when it is considered one unit. But when they are regarded as individuals, they take a plural verb:

  • The jury is about to give its decision.
  • The jury are divided in their opinion.
  • The committee is meeting tomorrow.
  • The committee have decided to raise the membership fee.
  • Our family has decided to visit Shimla this summer.
  • The family now live in London.

21. When some nouns are regarded as one unit, they take a singular verb:

  • Bread and butter is wholesome food.
  • Brick and stone are lying scattered all over the place.
  • Time and tide wait for none.
  • The novelist and poet is dead.

Exercise (Solved)

Read the following sentences and write their corrected forms in the space provided.

Question 1.
The show are at six
Answer:
The show is at six.

Question 2.
Bryan love the painting
Answer:
Bryan loves the painting.

Question 3.
Either of the boys are coming today
Answer:
Either of the boys is coming today.

Question 4.
The family have a long history
Answer:
The family has a long history. The families have a long history.

Question 5.
Some of the files seem to be missing
Answer:
Some of the files seem to be missing.

Exercise (Unsolved)

Choose the correct form of the verbs given in the brackets in the following sentences:

  1. The jury………………….. divided in their opinions, (was, were)
  2. There……………………… many exceptions to this rule, (is, are)
  3. Bread and butter…………………. my favourite breakfast, (is, are)
  4. Neither Ramesh nor his friends…………………… hurt, (was, were)
  5. Slow and steady………………. the race, (win, wins)
  6. No news…………… good news, (is, are)
  7. There………………… sixty students in our class, (is, are)
  8. Mathematics…………….. my favourite subject, (is, are)
  9. The poet and singer………….. dead, (is, are)
  10. He as well as his classmates              working, (is, are)

When we construct a sentence its Verb and Subject must agree in Number and Person. Thus, if the subject is of the singular number, first-person, the verb must be of the singular number. If subject has plural number, third person, the verb must be of the plural number.

This grammar section explains English Grammar in a clear and simple way. There are example sentences to show how the language is used. NCERT Solutions for Class 10 English will help you to write better answers in your Class 10 exams. Because the Solutions are solved by subject matter experts.

Subject Verb Agreement Exercises for Class 10 CBSE With Answers 

The basic rule of subject-verb concord is that a singular subject (the doer of an action who is being talked of in the sentence) always takes a singular verb (the action being done in the sentence) whereas a plural subject always takes a plural verb.
For example:

  • The girl goes out. The girls go out.

Remember:

  • Doesn’t is a contraction of does not and should be used only with a singular subject.
  • Two singular subjects connected by or, either/or, or neither/nor require a singular verb.
  • Nouns like scissors and trousers always take plural verbs.

The subject and the verb must agree. If the subject is singular, the verb should also be singular. If the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural. The verb agrees with the subject in number and person.

  • The given words look like plurals (i.e. they end in ‘s”). But they are, in fact, singular nouns.
    For these nouns, we use a singular verb.
subjectdiseasesgames/sports
dramaticsmumpsdarts
economicsmeaslescards
statisticsricketsaerobics
  • Words such as audience, congregation, crowd, group, family take a singular or plural verb, depending upon the sentence. But it is always safe to use plural verbs with these nouns.
  • Nouns plural in form but singular in meaning take a plural form,
    For example. compasses, scissors, tongs, goggles, jeans.
  • Everybody, somebody, nobody, anybody, anyone and each takes a singular verb.
  • When two subjects (nouns) are joined by ‘and’, they require a plural verb.
    For example. The cow and the goat are grazing.
  • We use a singular verb if two subjects (nouns) are separated by ‘and’ refer to the same person or thing.
    For example. Dal and rice is my grandfather’s favourite.
    Mr Madan, my friend and philosopher, sits next to me.
  • If subjects are joined by or, nor, either, neither the verb agrees with the subject.
    For example. Neither he nor his friend was there.
    Either the boy or his sisters have broken the tray.
    He or his friends are to be blamed.
  • The title of a book, play, story or a musical composition, takes a singular verb even though they are in the plural.
  • Words or phrases expressing periods of time, fractions, weights, measurements and amount of money are considered as singular and take a singular verb.
  • When a plural noun comes between a singular subject and its verb, the verb agrees with the subject and not with the nearest plural.
    For example.
    • Each of the watermelons is sweet.
    • Each one of our group is enthusiastic.
    • Neither of the men was busy.

Semi–modal Verbs – Uses
The semi–modal verbs are: need, dare, ought, used. They are verbs that have some of the characteristics of lexical–verbs and some of the characters of modal verbs. Examples:

  • Dare and need
    They are sometimes used with a to-infinitive and sometimes with a base form alone:
    • Dare and need
    • I daren’t tell her.
    • I need to look at a file on this computer.
    • You need not wait for me
  • Ought and used
    Ought and used do not change the form, but they are always used with a to-infinitive:
    • I ought to learn more grammar.
    • I used to enjoy grammar.

Subject Verb Agreement Exercises Solved Examples for Class 10 CBSE

Complete the passage given below:

Question 1.
Climatic change (a) ……………………. one of the hotly contested debates. India and Antarctica (b) ……………………. once the part of the same landmass. To visit Antarctica now (c) ……………………. to be a part of history. 90 percent of the Earth’s total ice volumes (d) ……………………. stored there, Antarctica (e) ……………………. her simple ecosystem. Therefore to study the earth, Antarctica ………………….. the place to go. Antarctica (8) …………………. devoid of any human markets. It (h) ……………………. no trees, buildings or billboards.
Answer:
(a) is
(b) were
(c) is
(d) was
(e) has is
(g) is
(h) has

Question 2.
Keeping a pet (a) ……………………. the best way to fight loneliness. But clean and comfortable ……………………. housing for them (b) ……………………. essential. If they (c) ……………………. carnivores a high protein diet (d) ……………………. required. Veterinary appointments (e) ……………………. a must. They (f) ……………………. wonderful pets and (g) ……………………. quite affectionate. They (h) ……………………. you entertained for hours.
Answer:
(a) is
(b) is
(c) are
(d) is
(e) are
(f) make
(g) are
(h) keep

Question 3.
Today road accidents (a) ……………………. earned India a dubious distinction. She (b) ……………………. the worst road traffic accident rate. The various factors to be blamed (c) ……………………. drunk–driving and carelessness in the use of helmets. The total number of deaths (d) ……………………. now passed the 135,000 marks. Trucks and two-wheelers (e) ……………………. responsible earlier. Evening rush hours ) ……………………. the most dangerous time to be on the road. Today drunken–driving (8) ……………………. become a major cause for road accidents. Think today. The time for action (h) ……………………. now.
Answer:
(a) have
(b) has
(c) are
(d) has
(e) were
(f) are
(f) has
(h) is

Question 4.
In November 2009 sales of cars (a) ……………………. up. This (b) ……………………. the largest car boom the country (c) ……………………. seen in years. Today the largest growth (d) ……………………. seen for small cars. The entire market (e) ……………………. seeing steady growth. There ……………………. currently 1.7 million new cars (8) ……………………. every year but Maruti Suzuki (h) ……………………. not profiting from this development.
Answer:
(a) went
(b) is
(c) has
(d) is
(e) is are
(f) bought
(h) is

Question 5.
Mohan and Shyam (a) ……………………. my best friends. They always (b) ……………………. me in my work. None of them (c) ……………………. football. I (d) ……………………. never (e) ……………………. them wasting their time. Neither Mohan nor Shyam (f) ……………………. lazy. Each one of them (g) ……………………. very active. All the students of my class (h) ……………………. them.
Answer:
(a) are
(b) help
(c) plays
(d) have
(e) seen is
(f) is
(h) like

Question 6.
Fill in the blanks with the correct verb given in the bracket:
(a) Mathematics ……………………. (is/are) my favourite subject.
(b) Politics ……………………. (is/are) not my cup of tea.
(c) The poet and philosopher, Rahim ……………………. (has/have) died.
(d) Mohan no less than you ……………………. (is/are) guilty.
(e) This news ……………………. (is/are) false. Bread and butter ………………….. (is/are) my favourite breakfast.
Answer:
(a) is
(b) is
(c) has
(d) are
(e) is
(f) is

Question 7.
Fill in the blanks with the correct form of verb:
(a) It is Ram who ……………………. to blame.
(b) The whole class ……………………. absent.
(c) The jury ……………………. different opinion.
(d) Neither you nor I ……………………. invited.
(e) All the boys of the class ……………………. absent today.
(f) Two and two ……………………. four.
Answer:
(a) is
(b) is
(c) has
(d) am
(e) are
(f) make

Question 8.
Fill in the blanks with the correct form of verb:
(a) The majority of the applicants ……………………. girls.
(b) Neither of these two boys ……………………. scored well.
(c) A pair of shoes ……………………. been stolen.
(d) The quality of these apples ……………………. not good.
(e) A black and white cow ……………………. grazing outside.
(f) A black and a white cow ……………………. grazing outside.
Answer:
(a) are
(b) has
(c) has
(d) is
(e) is
(f) are

Question 9.
Fill in the blanks with the correct form of verb:
(a) One thousand rupees ……………………. a big amount for me.
(b) If I ……………………. a bird, I would fly.
(c) Each of the girls ……………………. received an award.
(d) Four weeks ……………………. a good holiday.
(e) My father ……………………. not like reading comics.
(f) He walks as if he ……………………. lame.
Answer:
(a) is
(b) were
(c) has
(d) is
(e) does
(f) were