SUBJECT and VERB AGREEMENT (Danish: kongruens)
Answers to test:
1. Water, green, and shade - those were the three major factors in Arab life.
(plural verb: "water + green + shade" make three)
2. These are the main ingredients: water, flour, and yeast.
(plural: there are three ingredients)
3. Bread and butter was all they offered to us.
(singular: "bread and butter" is a unit concept like "bed and breakfast" or "bacon
4. Every diagram and chart was drawn with precision.
(singular: "every" takes a singular verb = focus on the individual diagram)
5. The number of incidents has been increasing.
(singular: the number is one entity)
6. A number of books are still lying on the floor.
(plural: many books are still lying on the floor)
7. Half of the hamsters were rejected by their mother.
(plural: although only half of them, still more than one hamster were rejected)
8. Neither of the boys is able to swim the distance.
(singular: "neither" focuses on the individual boy)
9. The audience is restless.
(singular: the audience as one group)
10. The audience are discussing why the concert was stopped.
(plural: people in the audience are discussing among them)
11. Two dollars is far too much.
(singular: $2.00 is the price - ask: how much?)
12. The two dollars are both of silver.
(plural: the dollars are coins - ask: how many?)
13. Spaghetti and meatballs is my favourite dish.
14. Spaghetti and meatballs are the major ingredients of a favourite dish.
(plural: two ingredients)
15. Four tablespoons of salt has made the soup inedible.
(singular: the "adding of salt" is considered a concept, not the
spoonfuls in themselves - ask: what, not how many?)
16. Three fourths of that nation is impoverished.
(singular: 3/4 is a mathematical concept; focus is not on each of the fourths)
17. Twenty dollars includes the price of breakfast.
($20 is the price, we are not thinking of twenty $1 bills or coins)
18. The black trousers are more appropriate.
(plural: "trousers" are always plural)
19. Under the glittering Christmas tree there was (or: were) a twirling red top, a
blue bicycle, a black cocker spaniel, and two gaily dressed dolls.
(singular or plural: the items may be considered as a whole or individually)
20. Neither the manager nor the cashier has any ideas.
(singular: ruled by "neither")
21. Every teacher and student wants to be at the meeting.
(singular: ruled by "every")
22. Either Hank or I am going to pitch in the opening game.
(singular: "Either" takes a singular verb)
Better: Either Hank is going to pitch the opening game, or I am.
23. Shakespeare's works are known all over the world.
(plural: focus on all the plays)
24. The Complete Works of Shakespeare is a heavy book.
(singular: the "CWoS" is a book)
25. His family are all dentists.
(plural: focus on the individual members of the family)
26. Neither his debt nor his failures were enough to keep him from going on
(plural:in a compound of singular and plural subjects the nearer subject rules the
27. Neither his skills nor his stamina is enough to earn him a permanent position on
(sing: in a compound of sing. and plur. subjects the nearer subject rules the verb)
28. The motto and guiding idea is ...
(singular: synonyms take a singular verb)
29. There are many reasons why ...
(plural: the preliminary subject "There" refers to the plural "reasons")
always singular: -one (anyone, someone, no one)
-body (anybody etc.)
each, either, every, neither, many a, one
acoustics, aesthetics, civics,
politics, social studies,
advice, business, furniture, information, knowledge, money,
(and many others)
always plural: ashes, barracks, cattle, clothes, pliers, police, proceeds,
tactics, trousers ...
singular and plural: amends, athletics, family, headquarters,
means, politics, works (factory) ...;
collective nouns: army, committee, crew, family, flock, government, herd, team
ex. The Government were discussing the bill (among them).
The Government has done everything possible.
Note: a) one of the planets that circle (plural) the earth is Mercury;
("that" refers to all "planets", not just one of them)
b) one of the planets is Mercury.