A basic grammar rule that helps to define a sentence construction (not just in English) is the Subject Verb Agreement rule. Some also call it as Subject Verb Concord. For all GMAT aspirants, this is one basic concept to be kept in mind for the GMAT Exam. Subjects and verb mis-agree with each other in number. A singular subject is followed by a singular verb. And a plural verb is followed by a plural verb. The simplest form of explaining this rule is this: A singular subject has a verb that ends with ‘s’. A plural subject has a verb that does not end with ‘s’. Unless, the verb’s simple form ends with ‘s’.
Let’s look at examples.
- Anand has a dog. (Singular Subject: Anand, Singular verb: has)
- Anand and Jay have dogs at home. ( Plural subject: Anand and Jay, Plural verb: have)
- What is the procedure to change rooms in this hostel?
- What are the rules of this hostel?
When you refer to a single unit of a group of things with a collective noun, the subject is singular.
- A bunch of keys was found on the desk.
- A bouquet of roses is on your desk.
- A school of fish is a cohesive unit.
- A pod of whales breach in unison.
- A pride of lions enter the village.
- The board of directors arrive shortly.
Neither nor/ Either or:
Singular subjects with or, either/or, or neither/nor require a singular verb.
- Either Sindhu or Sania is playing today.
- Neither Mom nor Dad drive.
- Neither of the dogs barks at him.
- Either Justin or Sophie has to appeal to the people.
The verb in neither nor, either or construct agrees with the nearest noun.
- Neither the teacher nor the students know the subject.
- Either the child or the parents take responsibility of homework.
- Neither the team nor the manager makes the decision.
Distance, time, money
Use a singular verb to go with units of distance, time or money.
- 100 Rupees is a lot of money.
- 5 miles is going to take a lot of time when you walk.
- Ten minutes is all it takes to take the train.
Along with, as well as, besides,
Ignore the occurrence of these words and use a singular verb when the subject is singular.
- Mahendra, along with Ashwin, finishes the game beautifully.
- Anger, as well as panic, causes bad judgement.
- Harry, besides Ginny and Hermione, is invited to the Slug Club.
Cormoran (and Robin) is working on Quine’s case.