Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement: Was/Were? Is/Are?


Question: “The largest proportion of spending was/ were on program services, which was/ were conducted during 2016-17.”

Can you make a correct choice? Here’s another sentence:

Question: “Answering a battery of questions is/ are easy for politicians.”

Determining whether the subject of the sentence is singular or plural is vital to making a correct choice. For instance:

Proportion of spending = Singular; Use “was”

Program services = Plural; Use “were”

Answer: The largest proportion of spending was on program services, which were conducted during 2016-17.

Similarly, A battery of questions= Singular; Use “is”.

Answer: “Answering a battery of questions is/ are easy for politicians.”

Neither-Nor and Either-Or: Note the noun closest to the verb.

“Neither my dog Alex nor my cats are eating anything.” (Cats = Plural)

“Neither my cats nor my dog Alex is eating anything.” (Dog = Singular)

“Either Mr. Sharma or Mrs. Zia has the flue.” (Mrs. Zia = Singular)

Note: None, Neither, anyone, everyone, each, every, someone, somebody, nobody, is always singular.

“Nobody is interested in listening to the President.”

“Every doctor in the town is on strike.”

“Neither of the televisions is working.”

Want to read more? Please visit Sara’s blog post here. I hope things are a bit clear than before. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section. Follow this blog to learn exciting English every day and like our Facebook page as well.



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