1. Many times, not always , a rule of thumb to follow is if the subject has an “s” the verb will not and vice versa.
Always make sure to agree in number!
2. With either/or or neither/nor in the sentence, the verb agrees with the subject closest to the verb.
Bob or the boys are on vacation this week.
The boys or Bob is on vacation this week.
3. Two or more subjects joined by and gets a plural verb.
Joe and Lori work together.
4. Group names can be singular or plural depending on use.
Company team family group class couple
Jury government (and others)
The class is lazy today.
The couple are seeking counseling.
5. Sometimes nouns look plural but are singular.
Measles Statistics Mathematics Mumps News
Athletics Politics (and others)
Measles is a childhood disease.
Mathematics is a difficult class.
6. Some indefinite pronouns take singular verbs.
Everybody Noone Someone Anyone other
Everyone Nobody Somebody Anybody each
Everything Nothing Something Anything one
Everybody is here for the meeting.
7. Some indefinite pronouns take plural verbs.
Several Many Few Others Both
A few are not involved in the project.
8. Some indefinite pronouns can be singular or plural.
Any none all most some
All of his money is going to bills.
Some of the children are leaving for vacation.
9. When commenting on a portion of something, the verb can be singular or plural
depending on the use.
Two-thirds of the voters are present.
Two-thirds of the committee is male.
10. When a sentence begins with here or there, the verb agrees with the noun that comes after it.
Here is the report on learning disabilities.
There are several children who like to read.
11. Mark out any material between the subject and the verb to check agreement. Do not let additional information confuse you. Just read the subject and verb together.
When writing a story or essay, make sure the point stays in one place. Write your essay or story, then go through and check to see that all of your verbs show that the point or event is happening at a particular time. You want your writing to stay in one place (the past, the present, the future). If you skip back and forth by changing your verbs, then your reader becomes confused and cannot necessarily follow the point you are attempting to make. Switching tense in verbs causes lots of confusion. Simple tense means an action happens/happened/will happen at a given time.
I walk every day.
Lexi walked yesterday.
Aidan will walk tomorrow.
Perfect tense means that an action happened from a given point to another given point.
I have walked for a week.
Lexi had walked for two weeks before camp.
Aidan will have walked for a month by the time school starts.
Progressive tense means an action happens continuously.
I am walking now.
Lexi was walking last night when I got home.
Aidan will be walking when Scott gets home from work.
Pick a tense and stick to it through an entire piece of writing.