Subject – Verb Agreement – 5

Some nouns look plural, but are actually singular. For example,

A game of billiards.

Mathematics is one of the subjects you need to take in high school

Politics is the art of governance.

Economics is the social science that studies the processes that govern the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services in an exchange economy.

Economics appears to be a difficult subject, but it in reality, is very easy.

Statistics forms the basis of actuarial science.

Statistics needs to be taught in a manner that is interesting.

Statistics is both an art and a science.

Measles spreads rapidly during the rainy season.

Economics and Linguistics are great subjects.

 

 

 

Subject – Verb Agreement – 4

Collective nouns always take singular verbs.

The team is ready for the match.

The team arrives in five minutes, and I will be in the airport to receive them.

The suburban community is upset due to the rise in crimes.

Her entourage is on its way.

Her entourage consists of the most promising individuals of this decade.

The government is not to be trusted, because its policies are detrimental to the people of the country.

The class is dismissed because the students are unruly.

The archive needs to be deleted, as it contains computer programs that are not longer used.

The government has broken its promise to improve healthcare services for the poor.

The furniture is broken.

The furniture needs to be replaced.

The bee swarm was spotted by the farmers, when it was miles away!  (swarm is the subject, hence singular verb)

The bees were spotted by the farmers, when they were miles away!  (bees is the subject, hence plural verb)

 

 

 

Subject – Verb Agreement – 2

While it is generally very easy to match singular subjects to singular verbs, things can get complicated sometimes. For example when nouns are compounded, the verb should become plural.

John is going out today.

Mary is going out today.

John and Mary are going out day.

Since we have a compound subject, two nouns/pronouns joined together by a conjunction, the verb should be plural ,since now the subject consist of more than one element.

Some more examples:

Smith and Wesson are out on a date.

Edward looks great today.

Edward and Matthew look great today.

Adrian and Andrew are watching the crowds at the cinema hall.

Examples of compound subjects made up of a noun and a pronoun.

She and John Smith are out on a date.

She and the President of the USA, are close friends.

Examples of compound subjects made up of two pronouns:

He and his friends are out on a vacation.

She and her entourage are nowhere to be seen.

However, do understand that when the nouns are combined using phrases such as in addition to, together, together with, along with, as well as, they should be treated as singular. These phrases are called as additives.

For examples,

Smith, along with Wesson is out on a date.

Adrian, together with Andrew is watching the crowds at the cinema hall.

John, as well as his father, is going out today.

but,

John and his father are going out today. (because of the compounding effect of and)

 

To be or not to be

The verb “be” expresses a state of existence.

It takes many forms and is the most inflected verb in English. In other words the verbs with the most number of different forms for different tenses, number and voice.

Essentially the verb be takes the following eight forms:

be, am, is, was, are, were, been, being

The infections of BE in three tenses and two numbers:

 

The Many Forms of Be

 

Apart from these, the “been” combines with helping verbs “has” and “had” and “will” to denote the perfect & progressive (continuous) aspect of the three tenses and also the future tense.

For example:

He has been in Germany for a long time.

He had been to England last year.

Next year, at the same time, I will have been doing my doctoral thesis in Languages of the Orient.

He will be fine tomorrow.

 Being can be taken as the present progressive variant of “be” denoting an action in the present tense and that is continuous and progressing.

He is being nice to everyone.

Being also plays many other roles, such as a participle. That is a more advanced topic that we will deal with later.

 

Subject – Verb Agreement – 1

A verb should agree with its subject in number.

In other words, a singular subject takes a singular verb, a plural subject takes a plural verb.

He plays cricket very well.

He is the singular subject and plays is the singular verb.

They play cricket very well.

They is the plural subject and play is the plural verb.

The horse runs faster than the mule.

Horse is the singular subject and it takes the singular verb runs.

The horses run faster than the mules.

Horses is the plural subject and it takes the plural verb run.

Notice that while we turn a noun into its plural form by adding an -s after it, a verb is turned into its singular form by adding an -s.

Tips to find out if a verb is singular or plural

  1. One way to remember is, a singular verb ends with -s (s for singular).
  2. Or you can try to use the verb in the third person to find out if it is singular or plural.

For example:

Is “cooks” singular or plural?

“He cooks”  or is it  “He cooks” ? Clearly “He cooks” is the correct one. He is                         singular. Therefore cooks is the singular form of the verb cook.

Note: are is the plural form of the word is.

 

Verbs – Inflection

Verbs are words that are used to denote action, an occurrence or a state of being. Primarily, they are known as action words and used to denote actions.

Some Examples:

Vignesh plays cricket.

Shrikanth eats ragi balls for breakfast.

Anil Kumble bowls well.

In the above examples, the words plays, eats & bowls are verbs. They describe the actions the subjects were doing.

Verbs change their form to denote tense, aspect, mood & voice. This change of form is called inflection.

For example:

He plays cricket – Present Tense

He played cricket – Past Tense

He will play cricket – Future Tense

In the above examples, the verb play changes form to indicate when the action took place. The verb can be inflected for all the three persons:

Verbs Inflected for Tenses

And for the two numbers in the Present Tense

Verbs Inflected for Number for the Present Tense

And for both tenses and number:

The Verb Play inflected for Person & Number

 

Or more elaborately:

The Verb Play inflected for Person & Number - Elaborate

Notice that the verbs change form only for the Third Person Singular. This is true for all Action Verbs.

 

The Pronoun Table

A classification of Pronouns on the basis of person, case and number.

A classification of Personal Pronouns

A classification of Personal Pronouns

 

A more detailed and discerning classification is found below

A classification of Pronouns on the basis of person, case and number.

A classification of Pronouns on the basis of person, case and number, showing Possessive Adjectives distinctly

In the above chart, Possessive Adjectives are shown as distinct and different from Possessive Pronouns.

Possessive Adjectives modify nouns, hence they are called Adjectives.

It is Alice’s car.

It is her car

“her” replaces “Alice’s”

It is John’s book

It is his book

“his” replaces “John’s”

It is our school

It is their property

In all the above cases, the possessives (her, his) modify a noun (car, book) and hence they are Adjectives. Since they also replace nouns (Alice’s, John’s) in the possessive case, they referred to as pronouns.

On the contrary, pronouns such as ours, mine, theirs, his, hers are called Absolute possessives because they can stand on their own.

(Note: his and its perform both roles of Absolute Possessive and Possessive Adjective).

Restrictive & Non-Restrictive Clauses

The park that we visited last week was very crowded.

In the above sentence the bolded parts describe the type of park we visited. It describes the park – the subject of the sentence – that we visited last week. Therefore it is termed an adjectival clause or a relative clause, because it relates to the noun that the adjectival clause modifies.

If we look at the sentence that we visited last week is important to the meaning of the sentence.  It limits and modifies the type of park we visited.

Q:which park was very crowded?

A:the one that we visited last week.

Let us take another example:

The train which was newly introduced attracted a lot of passengers.

In the above sentence the bolded parts describe the type of train that attracted a lot of passengers

If we look at the sentence which was newly introduced is important to the meaning of the sentence.  It limits and modifies the type of train which attracted a lot of passengers.

In both the cases, the bolded parts are essential to the meaning of the sentence and modify the noun that precedes them. Hence these clauses are termed restrictive clauses as they restrict the meaning of the noun that precedes them.

Restrictive clauses can begin with – that, which, who, whom, whose.

The person who called me yesterday was my brother.

The lady whom I mentioned in my letter was my school teacher.

The policeman whose car was damaged in a crash is a going after the suspect.

The park that we visited last week was very crowded.

The train which was newly introduced attracted a lot of passengers.

However, there are sentences in which the relative clause merely provides additional information about the noun, but does not modify, limit or restrict the noun. For example:

My sister, who lives in Canada, is a doctor.

Here who lives in Canada only provides additional information and does not modify sister. The sentence would still be meaningful if you eliminate who lives in Canada.

My sister, who lives in Canada, is a doctor.

My sister is a doctor (still meaningful).

We can see that the second sentence above still makes perfect sense. It does not lose its meaning when we remove the relative clause. Such relative clauses are called non-restrictive clauses, because they do not modify, limit or restrict the subject (my sister) of the sentence.

And to show that they merely provide extra information, we surround the clause with a comma.

The bike, which was stolen yesterday, was recovered by the police.

which was stolen yesterday provides additional information, and does not modify the type of bike. So we surround them with commas.

The lady, whom you saw yesterday, is my wife.

The aircraft, whose propeller was damaged, landed in Geneva.

In all the above examples, who, which, whom & whose, provide additional information, and are therefore surrounded by commas and are known as non-restrictive clauses.

However, that can never be used in a non-restrictive clause.

that is always used in a restrictive clause. It is never used in a non-restrictive clause

Non-Restrictive clauses can begin with – which, who, whom, whose.

The same clause can be both restrictive or non-restrictive.

My sister, who lives in Canada, is a doctor

who lives in Canada is a non-restrictive clause. It provides additional information.

The sentence does not lose its meaning when we remove the relative clause

But if we write it as:

My sister who lives in Canada is a doctor

who lives in Canada is a restrictive clause as it describes the subject (sister). I have many sisters and the sister who lives in Canada is a doctor. (note: we did not use commas as it modifies the subject). The sentence we lose its meaning if we drop the clause.