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3537 Common Errors in English | Part-II

Updated on December 9, 2015
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Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a Master's Degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.

Common Errors in English: Part-II
Common Errors in English: Part-II | Source

Common Errors in English

A verb must agree with its subject in number and person. There are many common errors in English due to subject-verb disagreement. Most of the ESL students don't know how to use verbs according to the number and person of the subject. That's why; they use incorrect verbs with regard to subject of the sentence. The following list will show you how to avoid these errors:

Remember:

When two subjects are joined by OR or by NOR, the verb agrees with the nearest subject.

Incorrect
Correct
Neither you nor he ARE going to London.
Neither you nor he IS going to London.
Neither Amir nor his brother HATE them.
Neither Amir nor his brother HATES them.
Either he or I IS mistaken.
Either he or I AM mistaken.
Either she or we WAS present there.
Either she or we WERE present there.
Either you or your sister HAVE stolen the watch.
Either you or your sister HAS stolen the watch.
Neither I nor my friends IS reluctant to take part in the contest.
Neither I nor my friends ARE reluctant to take part in the contest.
Neither he nor his servants WAS present there.
Neither he nor his servants WERE present there.
Either the dog or cat HAVE eaten the meat.
Either the dog or cat HAS eaten the meat.

Remember:

Some indefinite pronouns like ANYONE, EVERYONE, SOMEONE, NO ONE, NOBODY are always followed by a singular verb.

Incorrect
Correct
Anyone of them ARE required to take care of her.
Anyone of them IS required to take care of her.
Everyone ARE required to present his query before the examiner.
Everyone IS required to present his query before the examiner.
Someone HAVE stolen my watch.
Someone HAS stolen my watch.
Someone WERE responsible for this act.
Someone WAS responsible for this act.
No one ARE going to help you.
No one IS going to help you.
Nobody WANT to kill innocent people.
Nobody WANTS to kill innocent people.
Nobody WERE over there to talk to her.
Nobody WAS over there to talk to her.

Remember:

EVERYONE OF, ANYONE OF, EITHER OF, NEITHER OF, EACH OF are always followed by a singular verb.

Incorrect
Correct
Either of the boys WERE present in the class room.
Either of the boys WAS present in the class room.
Neither of them WANT to visit London.
Neither of them WANTS to visit London.
Everyone of the cars ARE is precious.
Everyone of the cars IS is precious.
Everyone of the students LIKE his teacher.
Everyone of the students LIKES his teacher.
Each of the girls HAVE beautiful voice.
Each of the girls HAS beautiful voice.
Each of the teachers ARE highly qualified.
Each of the teachers IS highly qualified.

Remember:

When two subjects, pronouns or nouns are joined by AND, they require plural verbs.

Incorrect
Correct
Adela and Margaret IS junior to me.
Adela and Margaret ARE junior to me.
Two and two MAKES four.
Two and two MAKE four.
Apples and mangoes IS sold here.
Apples and mangoes ARE sold here.
He and I AM playing chess.
He and I ARE playing chess.
We and she IS going to visit you.
We and she ARE going to visit you.
You and I WAS waiting for him.
You and I WERE waiting for him.

Remember:

When nouns suggest one idea, then the subject is followed by a singular verb.

Incorrect
Correct
The rise and fall of a country DEPEND upon the politicians.
The rise and fall of a country DEPENDS upon the politicians.
His rise and fall ARE due to his behaviour.
His rise and fall IS due to his behaviour.
Her bread and butter ARE journalism.
Her bread and butter IS journalism.
The captain and batsman ARE coming.
The captain and batsman IS coming.
The poet and dramatist HAVE died.
The poet and dramatist HAS died.

Remember:

When two plural nouns are used to denote some specific quantity, amount, or they are considered as a whole, then a singular verb will be used.

Incorrect
Correct
Sixteen kilometres ARE a long way to go.
Sixteen kilometres IS a long way to go.
Fifty thousand dollars ARE a huge amount.
Fifty thousand dollars IS a huge amount.
Seventy seconds ARE a very small duration.
Seventy seconds IS a very small duration.

Remember:

Those nouns which seem to be plural in form, but are singular in reality, are always followed by a singular verb.

Incorrect
Correct
No news ARE good news.
No news IS a good news.
Physics ARE his favourite subject.
Physics IS his favourite subject.
Politics WERE her pastime.
Politics WAS her pastime.
Mathematics ARE good subject.
Mathematics IS a good subject.
Athletics ARE her favourite game.
Athletics IS her favourite game.
Pakistan won by INNINGS.
Pakistan won by an INNINGS.
Billiards ARE not my favourite game.
Billiards IS not my favourite game.

Remember:

Certain collective nouns like Cattle, Vermin, People, Gentry, and Poultry are plural in form and are always followed by plural verbs.

Correct
Incorrect
The cattle IS grazing in the field.
The cattle ARE grazing in the field.
The CATTLES are grazing in the field.
The CATTLE are grazing in the field.
The poultry NEEDS vaccination.
The poultry NEED vaccination.
Those poultry IS mine.
Those poultry ARE mine.
People IS coming to see his dead body.
People ARE coming to see his dead body.
Poultry IS a domesticated bird.
Poultry ARE domesticated birds.
The gentry WAS unaware of the situation.
The gentry WERE unaware of the situation.

Remember:

These nouns are always followed by plural verbs: Scissors, Bellows, Pincers, Tongs, Spectacles, Drawers, Breeches, Jeans, Trousers,Shorts, Pyjamas, Thanks, Annals, Chatels, Tidings, Assets, Nuptials.

Incorrect
Correct
High quality scissors IS available here.
High quality scissors ARE available here.
Bellows IS no longer used in this modern age.
Bellows ARE no longer used in this modern age.
Pincers IS sold here.
Pincers ARE sold here.
Tongs IS used for griping and lifting objects.
Tongs ARE used for griping and lifting objects.
Spectacles IS made in Japan.
Spectacles ARE made in Japan.
Jeans WAS invented by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis.
Jeans WERE invented by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis.
Annals IS historical records.
Annals ARE historical records.
The assets of this company IS valued at $ 24,999.
The assets of this company ARE valued at $ 24,999.

Remember:

ONE OF THOSE is always followed by a plural verb.

Incorrect
Correct
She is one of those who WORKS hard.
She is one of those who WORK hard.
You are one of those who LIKES honesty.
You are one of those who LIKE honesty.
I am one of those who never TOLERATEs cheating.
I am one of those who never TOLERATE cheating.

Remember:

THE NUMBER OF is always followed by a singular verb, while A NUMBER OF is followed by a plural verb.

Incorrect
Correct
The number of dengue cases ARE increasing day by day.
The number of dengue cases IS increasing day by day.
The number of students GREW each month.
The number of students GROWS each month.
A number of students DOES NOT want to go on vacations.
A number of students DO NOT want to go on vacations.
A number of politicians HAS left the country.
A number of politicians HAVE left the country.

Remember:

When a singular subject is connected to WITH, ALONG WITH, AS WELL AS, then it takes a singular verb.

Incorrect
Correct
The laptop, with all of its accessories, WERE sold.
The laptop, with all of its accessories, WAS sold.
The Deputy Commissioner, along with his staff, ARE required to appear before the judge.
The Deputy Commissioner, along with his staff, IS required to appear before the judge.
English, as well as Arabic, ARE taught here.
English, as well as Arabic, IS taught here.
The aeroplane, with all of crew and passengers, WERE missing.
The aeroplane, with all of crew and passengers, WAS missing.
The prime minister, along with his wife, WERE assassinated.
The prime minister, along with his wife, WAS assassinated.

Remember:

Some indefinite pronouns like BOTH, FEW, MANY, SEVERAL, SOME & MOST are always followed by a plural verb.

Incorrect
Correct
Both of them IS coming here.
Both of them ARE coming here.
Some of the students WAS very dull.
Some of the students WERE very dull.
Most of the people KNOWS the situation.
Most of the people KNOW the situation.
Most of the facilities IS for special people.
Most of the facilities ARE for special people.
Few KNOWS about the conspiracy hatched by them.
Few KNOW about the conspiracy hatched by them.
Several IS arrested after the incident.
Several ARE arrested after the incident.
Several LIKES the principal.
Several LIKE the principal.

Subject-Verb Agreement Errors Quiz


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© 2015 Muhammad Rafiq

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