1. A Singular Subject takes the Verb in singular and a Plural Subject takes the Verb in plural
There is a cat. There are three cats.
2. An uncountable noun, though Plural in sense, takes a Verb in Singular form:
Her hair is grey. The grass is getting long.
3. We can use the + Adjective with a Plural Verb to refer to some group of people in society:
The old are generally respected. The poor are not always dishonest
4. Two or more Singular Subjects connected by ‘and’ usually take a Verb in the Plural. When ‘and’ is followed by a negative word as ‘no’ or ‘not’, the Verb agrees with the word preceding ‘no’ or ‘not’:
Kavita and Sunita are two sisters. He and his friend have arrived here.
5. If two Singular Nouns refer to the same person or thing, or two Subjects together express one idea, the verb must be Singular.
The Captain and Manager of the team is coming (same person)
The Captain and Manager of the team are coming (different persons)
6. Titles and names of Plural form also take a Singular Verb when they refer to one thing:
‘Seven Dwarfs’ was a very successful film
7. A phrase of measurement, though Plural in form, takes a Singular Verb:
Two hours is a long time to wait. Five miles is too far to walk
8. We use a Singular Verb after a Subject with every, each, any, everyone, someone, anything and nothing:
Every pupil has a book. Each boy was wicked
9. If two or more Singular Subjects preceded by ‘each’ or ‘every’ are connected by ‘and’, the Verb is usually Singular:
Each boy and each girl was dressed with a new dress
Every hour and minute brings its call for duty
10. Two or more Singular Subjects connected by ‘or’, ‘nor’, ‘either…..or’, ‘neither….nor’ take a Verb in the Singular:
The boy or the girl is fond of sweets.
Either Ammal or Bimal has eaten the mango
11. When the Subjects joined by ‘or’, ‘nor’, ‘either….or’, ‘neither..nor’ are of different numbers, the Plural Subject comes latter and the Verb must be Plural:
Tinku or her friends have done this work
Neither Harsha nor his sisters were hurt
12. When the Subjects joined by ‘or’, ‘nor’, ‘either…or’, ‘neither…nor’ are of different Persons, the Verb agrees in Person with the one nearest to it:
Either he or I have done this. Neither you nor he is to blame
13. When Subjects differing in Number or Person, or both, are connected by ‘and’ the Verb must always be in the Plural though the placing of Persons would be according to the above note:
You, he and I are friends. You and he are birds of the same feather.
14. A Collective Noun takes a Singular Verb when it is thought of as a whole and takes a Plural Verb when the individuals are separately thought of:
The army was defeated. Fifty rupees is enough for me
15. A lot of/A group of/ A number of:
There is a lot of boys one the ground (collectively)
A lot of boys are playing in the field (separately)
16. Some Nouns which are Singular in form but Plural in meaning take a Plural Verb(These include police, people, staff, dozen etc.):
The police are questioning a man
The policeman is watching outside the house
17. Some Nouns which are Plural in form but Singular in meaning take a Verb in Singular form:
The news is true The wages of sin is death
18. Some Nouns are always Plural and take a Verb in plural form.
These include belongings, clothes, congratulations, goods, earnings, savings, stairs, surroundings, etc:
The goods were found to be defective
My belongings have been destroyed
19. When the Subject of a sentence is a Phrase, the Verb must agree with the main Noun in the Subject group:
The quality of the oranges is not good
Many leading members of the opposition party have tried to justify the decision
20. When a Plural Noun is placed with a real Singular Subject (one, each etc.) with the help of ‘of’, the Verb must be Singular, not Plural.
One of the boys was ill
Each of the girls is clever
21. When words are joined by ‘with’, ‘together with’ or ‘as well as’ etc, the Verb agrees with the first Subject:
The Prime Minister with all the members of his cabinet has arrived
They with their father deserve praise
22. After ‘not only ….but also’, the Verb agrees with the nearest Phrase:
Not only George but also his friends are buying books
Not only the boys but also the teacher is watching the T.V
23. When the Subject of the Verb is a Relative Pronoun, care should be taken to see that the Verb agrees in number and person with the antecedent of the Relative Pronoun:
I who am your friend should stand by you
He who is my friend should stand by me
You who are my friend should stand by me
24. In referring to anybody, everybody, anyone, everyone, each etc., the Pronoun of the masculine or the femine gender is used according to the context.
I shall help each of the girls in her studies
Each of the boys will do his duty
Everyone likes to have his way
25. The Indefinite Pronoun ‘one’ should be used throughout.
One should be careful of one’s duties
One cannot be too careful about what one says
26. The case of a Pronoun following than or as is determined by the sense of the context and that can be done by mentally supplying the Verb in the given context:
Ram’s house is better than Krishna’s (house)
He is taller than I (am)
I like you better than he (likes you)
27. Many a/Many an before a Noun is Singular in form and the Verb is usually Singular:
Many a rose is born to blush unseen. Many an admirer praised him.
28. Pair Nouns – trousers, glasses, scissors etc. is Plural in form and takes a Plural Verb:
These trousers need cleaning
Your new glasses are very nice