October 20, 2014

Agreement: Pronouns that ALWAYS Take a Plural Verb

Always Plural Subjects

When a compound subject is joined by a coordinating conjunction (and), it takes a plural verb IF the subjects refer to different people or things and if the subject cannot be considered a unit.

  • Your investments and property are sure to increase in value.

Two nouns, not a single unit = plural

  • Ham and eggs is Oralee’s favorite breakfast.

Two noun, a single unit = singular

The indefinite pronouns BOTH, FEW, MANY, SEVERAL always take plural verbs.

  • Both are acceptable choices.

It makes sense that the verb is plural. “Both” means “two” and “two” is plural.

“A number” as the subject of a sentence always takes plural verbs.

  • A number of tenants are in the building.

Be aware of “irregular” plural nouns. Although they do not end in “s,” they always take plural verbs.

  • The news media are under attack.

singular of media: medium

  • The teacher is happy when her children are learning.

Men, women, sheep, etc. fall into this category

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Comments

  1. boring

  2. Elizabeth Marsh says:

    The doctor said that this medical phenomenon a) defies b) defy explanation.

    defies
    defy

    Should it not be “these phenomenon” for the plural and “this phenomenon” as singular?

  3. Elizabeth Marsh says:

    or perhaps even “this phenomena defies explanation”?

  4. phenomena is the plural of phenomenon

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