Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise (490)

In each sentence, choose the correct form of the verb.

  • Neither he nor his lawyer ____ spoken with the media.

  • The rank and file _____ the union leadership when it comes to elections.

  • The entire company ___ in shock about the leading lady’s unexpected death.

  • Everything inside, including rugs and lighting fixtures, ____ been removed and incinerated.

  • The list of grievances ____ been delivered to the committee.

Answers and Explanations

1. Neither he nor his lawyer has spoken with the media.

"Neither/nor" constructions take a singular verb because the nouns and/or pronouns in a subject in such a case represent a choice between, not a combination of, things.

2. The rank and file follow the union leadership when it comes to elections.

"Rank and file" refers to the members of a group or organization, not the collective membership as a single unit.

3. The entire company is in shock about the leading lady’s unexpected death.

A word referring to a collective entity takes a singular verb. A company is a single entity. Though it consists of individuals, the context is about a collective emotion. If you wish to emphasize the component parts of the entity, revise the sentence to explicitly refer to them, such as in "Everyone in the company is in shock about the leading lady’s unexpected death."

4. Everything inside, including rugs and lighting fixtures, has been removed and incinerated.

The subject is "everything"—a singular noun—not the plural nouns "rugs" and "lighting fixtures."

5. The list of grievances has been delivered to the committee.

The noun associated with the verb is "list," not "grievances."

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