Leeds English
Every sentence in English has a SUBJECT and a VERB.

Sometimes the subject is singular (e.g. the man/he) and sometimes it is plural (e.g. my friends/they).

Incorrect agreement between subject and the verb is one of the most common errors in speaking, as well as in writing. You must remember to change your verb, depending on if the subject is singular or plural.

Collective nouns

Collective nouns in English Language refer to a group (or a ‘collection’) of people, but they usually take a singular verb.

Examples of collective nouns:

government  |  team  |  party  |  firm  | company  |  committee

When it refers to a group as an organisation we use a singular verb, but when the noun refers to the individuals in the group we prefer a plural verb…

Simple subjects vs. Complex subjects

The subject of a verb can be a single noun or pronoun as in the examples below.

However, many subjects comprise more than one noun and in these cases it can be difficult to decide whether the verb should be singular or plural. These subjects are known as complex subjects.  When you have a complex subject, you need to decide which noun is the ‘head noun’ in other words the most important noun in the subject. The verb will agree with this noun.

The subject of this sentence ‘a bag of sweets’ has two nouns. These are ‘bag’ and ‘sweets’. The important noun, however, is ‘bag’ (because ‘…of sweets’ is extra information). So, the verb is singular because there is only one ‘bag’!

Practice

Answers

Exercise 1:
1. There are four nouns in the subject (reliance, fuels, gas and coal)
2. Reliance is the most important noun
3. ‘has resulted’ is the singular form

Exercise 2:
1. driving / is (singular)
2. people / are (plural)
3. people / are (plural)
4. children / do (plural)

Thank you for reading, we hope you found this content useful!

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