Verb Rules English Grammar
Students should refer to the following Verb Rules of English Grammar. These rules have been designed by expert English teachers to help students appearing in English Exams in schools or competitive examinations. You should remember the following verb rules so that you can use them correctly and score good marks in examinations. You should refer to all Rules of English Grammar provided by us to strengthen your understanding.
Rule 1 –Always identify the subject before deciding on proper verb form to use. It is not mandatory that the subject will always be placed exactly before verb.
Eg: – Where are the pieces of my puzzle (The subject is not this puzzle but it is the pieces of my puzzle so subject is plural) The study of Plants and animals is very important for your study (Subject here is study)
Rule 2 – (A) When two singular nouns are connected by ‘and’ the verb will be plural.
Eg – The cow and the pig are jumping over the wall
(B)– But If two different singular nouns express one idea, the verb should be in the singular form. Or the two singular nouns/ uncountable nouns are used in pairs then the verb will be singular.
Eg 1– The law and order situation in the state is under control (not are under
2-Profit and loss is a part of business. ( Profit and loss – usually used in pairs)
Rule-3– When two nouns joined by ‘and’ have their own articles then we consider them as different persons and things and we use plural verb with them.
Eg- The director and the Actor are shooting in Rajasthan (not ‘is’ shooting)
But When two nouns joined by ‘and’ do not have their own articles then we considers them as one person and thing and we use singular verb with them.
Eg- The principal and director of the school is on the leave ( not ‘are’ on leave)
Rule-4 – ‘Nothing but’ , ‘Unlike’, ‘No less than’, ‘together with’ ‘As well as’, ‘with’, ‘along with’, ‘and not’, ‘in addition to’, ‘but’, ‘besides’, ‘except’, ‘rather than’, ‘accompanied by’, ‘like’. If these words are the connecting words that join two subjects then the verb used will be according to the first subject.
E.g. 1- My brother unlike my sisters wishes to have a career in engineering.
2-The Actor, along with his manager and some friends, is invited to the function.
Rule-5– When two or more subjects are connected by or, nor, either…or, either…nor, the verb is according to the subject that falls close to the verb.
Eg- 1. Either Ravi or Shyam is to be promoted ( not are to be promoted )
2. Neither the girls nor he is to take up this project ( not ‘are’ to take up this project)
3. Either you or I am responsible for this blunder ( not I ‘are’ )
Rule-6– Usage of either of , neither of , none of, one of , both/not etc.
Neither of – It is only used in case of two things or persons but when there are more than two involved then we use ‘None of’. For Eg-
1. Neither of the two brothers went to England (Correct)
2. Neither of his five sons settled in India (Incorrect)
3. None of his five sons settled in India (correct)
Either of – It means the choice is between two persons and things and one of the two.
Eg- Either of the two boys has broken the window
One of – It is used to select one out of something that has more than two.
Eg- One of the six girls admitted before the invigilator that they had all cheated in the examination.
Both/not – We do not use both and not in the same sentence. If we wish to state that out of the two things not even one of them then use ‘neither of’ Eg- Both of the boys did not reach the examination centre on time (Incorrect) Neither of the boys reached the examination centre on time (Correct )
Rule-7 – When ‘not only….but also’ is used to combine two subject, the verb agrees with the subject close to it.
Ex- Not only Platinum, but also gold are mined in the country (Wrong)
Not only Platinum, but also gold is mined in the country. ( Right)
Rule-8– Majority can be singular or plural. If it is alone it is usually singular , if it is followed by a plural noun , it is usually plural.
Eg- 1. The majority believe that the country can progress (wrong)
The majority believes that the country can progress (right)
2. The majority of the Teachers believes that the girl has not copied in the exam (wrong)
The majority of the Teachers believe that the girl has not copied in the exam (right)
Rule 9 – ( Collective noun )Many words indicating a number of people or animals are singular. The following nouns are usually singular.
Class, Crowd, Family, group, committee, team, organisation, army club, government, jury, minority, public etc
Eg- The family was happy with the wedding arrangements. ( not ‘were’ )
The committee has met and accepted the proposal.
The crowd was wild.
Note: – A collective noun is considered as plural when the group it names is considered to be made up of individuals. When members of the group act on their own independently , the word is taken as plural and take plural verb.
Eg- The jury have different reactions to the evidences.
Rule 10– When a lot of , a great deal of , plenty of, most of, and some of refer to number ( countable noun ), a plural verb is used.
Eg- a lot of people were present in road show ( not ‘was’)
Note – if these expressions refer to an amount ( uncountable noun ), the singular verb is used.
Eg- a great deal of work has been completed.
Rule-11– Generally with a plural number we use a plural verb. But nouns indicating a specific time, money and measurements (weight, distance and height) used as a whole are singular and take a singular verb.
Eg- Thirty-five is not such big amount ( not ‘are’)
Four miles is going to be tedious for him ( not ‘are’)
Note – but when they are not used as a whole and are further subdivided into smaller units we use a plural verb.
Rule-12– Names of countries are always singular. Certain countries like united states end with‘s’ and seems to be plural but they are singular. But in sports while referring to the players, the name of the country is followed by plural verb.
Eg- Australia is a nice country
Australia have won the Cricket Series (Here Australia is referred to as players)
Rule-13– When the ‘enemy’ is used in the sense ‘ armed forces’ of a nation with which one’s country is at war, we use the plural verb.
Eg – The enemy were forced to retreat.
Rule14– Structure none+ of+ the+ uncountable noun+ singular verb Eg- None of the counterfeit money has been found. (Not ‘have been found’)
Structure- None +of the+ plural countable noun + plural verb
Eg- None of the boys have finished their project.
Rule15– ‘No’ can take either a singular or plural verb depending on the noun which follows it.
Structure- No+ singular noun + singular verb
Eg- No class is going to be held
Structure- No+ plural noun+ plural verb
Eg- No Classes are going to be held.
Rule16– A number of / The number of. Observe the following two structures:-
1. A number of +plural noun + plural verb
2. The number of + plural noun + singular verb
Eg- A number of students are going to the picnic ( not ‘is going to’)
The number of days in a month is thirty ( not ‘are thirty’ )
Sometimes the pronoun ‘who, that, or which’ is the subject of a verb in the middle of the sentence. The pronouns ‘who, that and which’ becomes singular or plural according to the noun directly in front of them. So, if that noun is singular, use a singular verb and if it is plural use a plural verb.
Eg- He is one of those who are convicted.
Rule 18– The word ‘were’ replaces ‘was’ in sentences that expresses a wish or are contrary to the fact.
Eg- If my dad were here, he would have beaten you. ( not ‘was’ here)
Here dad is singular so ‘was’ seems to be correct here. But actually it’s a wish then we must use ‘were’.
Rule 19 – The following are considered as singular ‘Every, somebody everyone, someone, none, nobody, one, any, many, many a , more than one’ are treated as singular. We use a singular verb, singular pronoun and singular noun with them
Eg- Each boy and each girl has to finish her project.
Each man was handcuffed.
Note- But if each , every, one is followed by ‘of’ then it is followed by plural
noun/ pronoun. But the verb will be singular
Eg- one of the boys has topped in the class.
Note – if ‘one’ is the subject of the sentence then the pronoun used will be one’s/oneself etc. Do not use him/himself.
Rule 20- Furniture, advice, work, evidence, equipment, news, information, luggage, baggage, percentage, poetry, knowledge, traffic, electricity, music, stationary, scenery, confectionary, pottery, crockery, behaviour etc are uncountable nouns. So we use a singular verb with them.
Ex- The furniture you bought is very beautiful ( Not ‘are very’)
Rule 21– Headphones, knickers, premises, alms, ruins, archives, arrears, auspices, fireworks, clothes, outskirts, particulars, regards, riches, remains, savings, surroundings, furnishings, earnings, troops, tactics, valuables, wages, belongings, braces, scissors, tongs, trousers, pants, pajamas, shorts, goggles, binoculars, eyeglasses.
These nouns are always plural and a plural verb is used with them.
Eg- Have you seen my glasses ?
Your clothes are dirty
Note- Some of these nouns are often used with the expression ‘a pair of’.
A pair of trousers, a pair of glasses etc
But here singular verb will be used.
Rule 22– These nouns appear to be plural but are actually singular and we use a singular verb with them.
News, innings, Politics, summons, linguistics, Billiards, Athletics etc
Names of subjects ending in ‘s’
Physics, economics, ethics, mathematics.
Names of diseases ending in ‘s’
Mumps, measles, rickets etc
Eg- Athletics is good for young people.
Linguistics is the study of language.
Rule 23– These nouns appear to be singular but are plural and a plural verb is used with them.
Cattle, cavalry, infantry, poultry, peasantry, children, gentry, police, people etc
Rule 24– Deer, sheep, series, species, fish, crew, team, jury, aircraft, counsel etc, These words are in the same form in singular and plural.
Rule 25 – In optative sentences, singular subject takes plural verbs For eg- Long live the king.