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Subject Verb Agreement from Business Communication for MB0023 of SMU MBA

Sunday, March 28, 2010

We have thus far learnt various types of sentences and the elements that makeup a sentence. We shall polish this a little further to understand the nuances that we should keep in mind while writing or conversing in English. The rules that one should follow while constructing a sentence and while conversing may be different. The formal and informal usage of English differs.

The subject and verb agreement is an important aspect of the English language. It is very important that the verb and subject agree in number and person.

The two smart girls in the class were chosen to win the award.

In the given example there are three ways in which the subject (girls) is show to be plural:

The verb ‘to be’ in its plural form ‘were’

The adjective ‘two’

The plural marker ‘s’ attached to the subject ‘girl’

While trying to determine whether a verb should be in singular or plural form, find the subject and ignore all the words coming after it. If the subject is singular, then the verb is singular or vice versa.

The problems with the student have not yet been resolved.

In this example, the subject is ‘problems’ which is in the plural form. So the verb should be in the plural form. Hence we use the verb ‘have’ (plural form).

1. When two subjects are joined by ‘and, and the verb is plural. For example – John and Jinny are friends.


When two singular noun are joined by ‘and’, but refer to the same person, then the verb is singular. For example – The secretary and treasurer is on leave.

When two different singular nouns express one unit, the verb is in singular. For example – Rice and curry is my staple diet.

When two singular subjects are practically synonymous, the verb is in singular. For example – Peace and prosperity is the need of the day.

When two singular subjects are joined by ‘and’ which are preceded by ‘each’ or ‘every’, the verb is in singular. For example – Every man, woman and child has been rescued.

2. The nouns that end in – s (certain countries, fields of study, activities, diseases) take a singular verb.

For example –

The aerobics class is held every Tuesday.

The United States doesn’t have a centralized governing body for educational affairs.

Mathematics was my favorite subject in school.

Measles is a serious childhood disease if not treated properly.

3. Most collective nouns take the singular form of the verb.

For example – The committee doesn’t have to come up with a solution until next week.

Exception: However, the nouns ‘people’ and ‘police’ are considered plural, so they take a plural verb.

For example – The police are here to protect us.

The people were happy to see the return of their king.

4. The expression of time, distance and money are often seen as collective items and hence take a singular verb.

For example – Two miles is too far to walk in this lashing rain.

Five hours has already passed since his surgery ended.

Five thousand rupees is a fair price for such an old painting.

5. When the words ‘all’, ‘most’, ‘some’ and ‘any’ are followed by a non-count noun, the verb is singular.

For example – All of the cake has been eaten.

Some fat is good for you.

Most car exhaust contains pollutants that threaten all living things.

Exception: However, if the words are followed by a plural count noun, the verb is plural.

For example – All men are created equal.

6. “Noun” and “neither” always take a singular verb, whether followed by a plural or a non-count noun.

For example – None of the cats belongs to me.

Neither of the women is the one who spoke to me yesterday.

7. When the subjects are joined by “either… or”, “neither… nor”, “not only… but also”, “both… and”, the verb agrees with the subject which is close to it.

For example – Neither the children nor the mother wants to leave.

Either you or I am going to call an end to this charade.

Not only she but all her friends also were in the list of failures.

Both my brother and I am interested in joining the team.

8. When two subjects are joined by ‘as well as’, ‘with’, ‘together with’, ‘accompanied by’, the verb agrees with the subject mentioned first.

For example – The President of India as well as his secretaries is invited to the function.

Her friends along with Sheela are arriving by the first flight.

9. “The + adjective” takes the plural verb because it refers to the whole group.

For example – The sick were taken to the hospital immediately.

10. A plural verb is used when ‘a lot of’, ‘a great deal of’, ‘plenty of’, ‘most of’, ‘some of’ are used while referring to number.

For example – A lot of people were present in the theatre and some of them were students.

Exception: However, if the expressions refer to amount, the verb is singular.

For example – A lot of home work is given to the students.

11. When the expression ‘a number of’ is used with a plural noun, it takes plural verb. The expression, ‘the number of’, along with a plural noun takes a singular verb.

For example – A number of students are going to the picnic.

The number of students to volunteer is dwindling by the day.

12. In sports, while referring to the players, the name of the country is followed by plural verb.

For example – England have won the world cup.

13. When the percentage or a part of something is mentioned with plural meaning, the verb used is plural.

For example – 30% of the Indian women are literate.

14. “Majority” can be singular or plural.

It is followed by a plural noun, plural verb is used.

For example – Majority of the pens were blue.

If it stands alone, singular verb is used.

For example – The majority believes in easy work.

These are the examples and implementations of subject verb agreement. This is the most important chapter in English grammar. Subject verb agreement chapter has been taken from Business Communication for MB0023 of SMU MBA.

Elements of Sentence Construction and Structural Categorization from MB0023

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We already have discussed about sentences and kinds of sentences in my previous post. Now, you will get some more explanation about elements of sentence and structural categorization from MB0023 of SMU MBA book.

In English, every sentence has two essential parts: a Subject and a Predicate, which are inclusive of clauses and phrases.

Subject: The complete subject is the simple subject (a noun or a pronoun) plus any words or group of words modifying the simple subject that tell who or what the sentence is about. Thus, a subject is the person, place, or thing that acts, is acted on, or is described in the sentence.

Additional Facts about Subject:

The “Understood You”: Sometimes, as in the case of imperative sentences, the subject does not actually appear in the sentence. At such times the invisible subject is called the “understood you”. For example – (You) Go out of the house.

Positioning: Although the subject most commonly appears before the verb, it can also appear after the verb. This is called the inversion of the Subject and Predicate. For example – Here come my friends and their parents.

Predicate: The predicate is the action or description that occurs in the sentence. Sometimes a verb will express existence instead of an action. Verb is an essential part of the predicate. In other words, we can say that the predicate is the ‘telling part’ of the sentence because it tells us what the subject is doing and to whom.

Phrases: A group of words without a finite verb is a phrase. In other words, phrases are just a group of related words that do not express a complete thought. They also do not have a subject and predicate pair. So, they cannot be considered as a sentence.

For example – The house at the end of the street is very beautiful.

The astronaut chosen to ride the space shuttle to Mars is afraid of heights.

Alix walk down the ramp to the beach.

The flying saucer appeared above the lake before it disappeared into space.

Clauses: Words and phrases can be put together to make a clause. A group of related words that contain both a subject and a predicate and that functions as a part of a sentence is a clause. A clause is different from a phrase because a phrase is a group of related words which lack either a subject or a predicate or both.

Structural Categorization of Sentences:

Structurally, a sentence may be categorized as Simple, Compound and Complex.

A sentence can be recognized by the number of clauses it contains.

Simple sentence: A simple sentence, also called an independent clause, contains a subject and a verb, and it expresses a complete thought. For example – Some students like to study in the morning.

Compound sentence: A compound sentence contains two independent (main) clauses joined by a coordinator. It may or may not have a subordinate clause. The coordinators are as follows: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. For example – Alex played football but Manu went shopping.

Complex sentence: A complex sentence has an independent clause joined by one or more dependent causes. A complex sentence always has a subordinator such as because, since, after, although, or, when or a relative pronoun such as that, who, or which. For example – The teacher returned the homework after she saw an error.

Sentences and Kinds of Sentences from MB0023 of SMU MBA

Monday, March 8, 2010

A group of words that makes a complete sense or gives complete meaning is called a sentence. It expresses the thought of the person, who speaks or writes the sentence. Traditionally, a sentence is considered as a largest grammatical unit. It is also imperative that a sentence has a verb in it to consider it as a sentence.

The shortest legal sentences in the English language are “I am” and “I do” – although with some bending o the rules, the imperative “Go!” can be considered the shortest correct sentence.

Kinds of Sentences:

From the point of view of expression of thoughts, the sentences are divided into four kinds.

Declarative Sentences: They state or assert certain facts. So they are called declarative sentences. A declarative sentence makes a statement. It begins with a capital letter and ends with a period. For example – Veena is playing word zap.

Interrogative Sentences: The sentences that ask questions are called interrogative sentences. For example – What is your name?

Exclamatory Sentences: The sentences in the example express strong feelings either of happiness or sadness. The feelings are also sudden. Also notice the exclamatory mark at the end of the sentences. Such sentences are called Exclamatory Sentences. For example – Wow, what a win that was!

Imperative Sentences: The sentences that are used to express order, request or which are called as Imperative Sentences. For example – Go out of the class.

We already have discussed about Noun, Pronoun, Verb, Adverb, Preposition and Conjunction. A person can handle any sentences if he has understanding about above mentioned parts of speech. Chapter of sentences give a basic knowledge about how to make a sentence in English. The chapter has been taken from MB0023 MBA book of Business Communication. The book is referred by SMU for MBA students. So, take a look on sentences to know the structure of sentences.

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