Definition of Verb in English - Examples, Uses, Types of Verb

Verb Definition and Examples

It is one of the basic rules of English language that the Verb must agree with its Subject in Number and Person. The following points need to be kept in mind while framing a sentence.

a. Two or more singular nouns or pronouns joined by 'and' require a plural verb. 
For instance, He and I were playing.
                        Are your father and mother home?
But, if the nouns suggest one idea, or refer to the same person or thing, the verb is singular.
For instance, Time and tide waits for no man.
Honour and glory is his reward.

b. Two or more singular subjects connected by 'or' or 'nor' require a singular verb.
For instance, Either the thief or the police has reached the house first.
                        Neither praise nor blame seems to affect him.

c. 'Either', 'neither', 'each', 'everyone' must be followed by a singular verb.
For instance, He asked me whether either of the applicants was suitable.
                      Neither of the two men was very strong.
                      Each of these varieties is found in England.
                      Every one of you is a traitor.

d. When a plural noun denotes some specific quantity or amount considered as a whole, the verb is generally singular.
For instance, fifteen minutes is allowed to each speaker.
                        Ten kilometres is a long walk.

e. Words joined to a singular subject by 'with', 'as well as', etc take a singular verb.
For instance, the ship, with its crew, was lost.
                        Sanskrit, as well as Persian, was taught there

Test yourself

Question 1

Fill in the blanks with a Verb in agreement with its Subject.

1. The cost of all these articles _____ risen.

2. No news _____ good news.

3. A good man and useful citizen _____ passed away.

4. Each of the suspected men _____ arrested.

5. The cow as well as the horse _____ grass. 

6. Neither you nor he _____ to blame.

7. The news _____ true.

8. All possible means _____ been tried.

9. The United States _____ a big navy.

10. Neither praise nor blame _____ to affect him.

Question 2

Correct the errors in the subject-verb agreement in the following sentences

1. The Principal with his staff and students were present.

2. It is I who are responsible.

3. Either of these roads lead to the market.

4. Neither he nor his friends has broken the window.

5. The President and the secretary was arrested.

6. Many a man have died for the nation.

7. The quality of these apples are good.

8. Neither he nor you is wrong.

9. Each of them were rewarded.

10. The horse and cart are at the door

Answer Key

Answer for question 1

1. has

2. is

3. has

4. is

5. eats

6. is

7. is

8. have

9. has

10. seems

Answer for question 2

1. The Principal with his staff and students was present.

2. It is I who is responsible.

3. Either of the two roads lead to the market.

4. Neither he nor his friends have broken the window.

5. The President and the secretary were arrested.

6. Many a man has died for this nation.

7. The quality of these apples is good.

8. Neither he nor you is wrong.

9. Each of them was rewarded.

10.The horse and cart is at the door.

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