Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise (2)
In all but one of the following sentences, the subject and the verb do not agree in singular or plural form; revise form of the verb as necessary:
Answers and Explanations
Original: Our quarterback and the star of the team was killed in an auto accident.
Correct : Our quarterback and the star of the team was killed in an auto accident.
This sentence is correct, but it is confusing and is clearer if one of the two descriptions of the one person in question is treated as an appositive in a parenthetical phrase: "Our quarterback, the star of the team, was killed in an auto accident."
Original: Neither Bert nor Ernie were there.
Correct : Neither Bert nor Ernie was there.
Use a singular verb when two singular subjects are linked by or or the sentence has an either/or or a neither/nor construction. (Neither indicates that Bert and Ernie are being considered one at a time.)
Original: His condescension, as well as his temper, are affecting morale.
Correct : His condescension, as well as his temper, is affecting morale.
Disregard parenthetical phrases starting with phrases such as "along with" and "as well as" when selecting the proper verb form for a singular subject.
Original: Three yards of material are certainly enough for one dress.
Correct : Three yards of material is certainly enough for one dress.
A prepositional phrase that follows a subject is usually disregarded in subject-verb agreement, but in American English, there is an exception when the phrase refers to an amount, distance, fraction, or percentage.
Original: One out of every five people are ineligible.
Correct : One out of every five people is ineligible.
In "one out of every [number]" constructions, the verb should be consistent with one, not with the larger number.