Subject-Verb Agreement: Practical exercises

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Singular verbs go with singular subjects and plural verbs go with plural subjects.

E.g.     The girl was angry.

            The girls  were angry.

Exercise 1

Fill in the blanks with either one of these – “is/ are/ was/ were/ has/ have/had/ does/ do/ did”

1.      My mother _______________ cooking dinner. (past)

2.      The drawer _______________ locked. (past)

3.      The women _______________ selling vegetables. (present)

4.      My books _______________ stolen. (past)

5.      Most boys _______________ fond of playing football. (present)

6.      All the schools _______________ closed yesterday. (past)

7.      The dog _______________ barking loudly all last night. (present)

8.      She _______________ not at home last night.(past)

9.      The chair _______________ broken. (present)

10.     Elephants _______________ short tails. (present)

11.     The house _______________ a high ceiling. (present)

12.     The pupils _______________ not completed their work. (present)

13.     The enemies _______________ surrended. (past)

14.      _______________ she taken it home? (present)

15.     Cats _______________ not like dogs. (present)

16.     The policeman _______________ his job well. (past)

17.     They _______________ not like to see Rain’s films. (present)

18.     If it _______________ not rain, I will come. (present)

19.     We _______________ not often go there. (present)

20.     What _______________ he do for a living? (present)

21.     _______________ you hear me? (present)

When two or more subjects are connected by ‘either…..or’ or ‘neither….nor’, the verb must agree with the subject closest to it.

      E.g.     Either Samad or Kassim has a car.

                  Neither the boys nor the girls are absent today.

                  Either Mr. Brown or his sons knowabaout the accident.

                  Neither the children nor Encik Ali knows about the holiday.

Each of the words in the list below takes a singular verbs Every, Each, One, Everyone, Anyone, Someone, Anybody, Somebody, Nobody.

            E.g.   Every teacher has a record book.

                          Each applicant is here for the interview.

                          Everyone knows the answer.

                          Nobody wants to help him.

When the word ‘there’ is used, verbs follow the subjects that come after it.

              E.g.     There is a bird in the cage.

                          There are three birds in the nest.

                          There are many children at the playground.

                          There is a mistake in this calculation.

Exercise 2

Choose the correct word in the bracket.

1.      Nobody (is/are) allowed to enter the new hall.

2.      (Is/Are) either of the twins singing?

3.      A large amount of money (has/have) been spent.

4.      Most of the boys in our class (like/likes) to play rugby.

5.      None of the books (is/are) expensive.

6.      Dave, as well as Matthews, (is/are) tall.

7.      Who (do/does) he think he is?

8.      (Do/Does) every one of them do that?

9.      Either Anil or his friends (has/have) played his trick.

10.   The farmer and his wife (seem/seems) unhappy. I think the news they received (was/were) bad.

11.    Neither the men nor the woman (was/were) working. They were resting.

12.    Everybody (is/are) happy as everybody (has/have) passed the examination.

13.    My sister and I usually (walk/walks) to the sports complex in the afternoon. Sometimes we (catch/catches) the bus.

14.    (Do/Does) they know that you (is/are) coming?

15.    There (are/is) several (piece/pieces) of orange cake left on the plate.

16.    There is a (mouse/mice) in the old cupboard.

17.    There (is/are) two cows grazing in the field.

18.    There (was /were) a lot of work to do. So everybody (has/have) not recovered yet.

19.    Most of the goods (has/have) been stolen. None (has/have) been recovered yet.

20.    Akon and his sister (is/are) liked by all as both of them (is/are) polite.

21.    There (is/are) a lot of dirt on the floor. The servant (has/have) not cleaned it since yesterday morning.

22.    Bread (is/are) made from flour. Can you think of other things that (is/are) made from flour?

Posted By: Meena Mohan Das Category: Worksheets

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About Meena Mohan Das

Mrs. Meena Mohan Das is an elementary school teacher in Malaysia since July1988. She was born in Kluang, a district in the state of Johor. She obtained her certificate in Teacher Training from Mohd Khalid Teacher’s Training College in Johor Bahru, Johor. Her first posting was in Kupang Primary School in Kedah where she taught for six months. Thereafter, she moved to LKTP Felda Kemelah Primary school from 1989 to 1990 and subsequently to Sri Skudai Primary School in December 1990 till present. She has been the Head of the English Language Panel since 1995 in the present school. She has also been a recipient for a Merit Award in 2006 for excellent performance in school.  She obtained her Bachelor of Education in TESL in University Putra Malaysia in 2002. In 2014 she graduated from University Teknologi Malaysia with Masters in Teaching of English as a Second Language.  The research topics done are “Use Of Mind-Mapping and Flashcards in Vocabulary Development among Year 5 Students” and “Process Writing to Enhance Writing Abilities among Year 5 Students”. She has co-authored a journal with Dr Shanthi Sandaran on “The Importance of Vocabulary Development for English Language Teaching and Learning: The Malaysian ESL Context”. 

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