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Subject, Verbs

Note 50 – Subject and verb (agreement in number) Part 1

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – If you would prefer to dive straight into note 50, then please read on…

Agreement in number between subject and verb

Bernard C Lamb in his book The Queen’s English says that “the words that come between the subject and its verb do not affect the agreement between the verb and its subject”. To make things easier to understand, try ignoring the underlined words between the subject and the verb in each of the two examples below.


(1) The house on top of the hill caught fire yesterday.

(2) The CDs that I like are for sale in the shops next week.

What happens when you have compound subjects?

Difficulties occur when combining two singular nouns e.g. chicken and bread.  This is relatively easy to work out if you remember that two singular nouns are always followed by a plural verb, unless the combination is treated as a single unit e.g. fish and chips.


(3) Chicken and bread are items on my shopping list

Explanation: Chicken and bread are single nouns joined by the word ‘and’, therefore this is followed by the plural verb ‘are’.

(4) Fish and chips is on the menu today

Explanation: Fish and chips is considered a single unit, therefore it is followed by the singular verb ‘is’.

No test today, however I will start with one tomorrow before I continue with some more rules on the subject and verb.

Until tomorrow…


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Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

Bernard C. Lamb The Queen’s English (2010), UK


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Please let me know what you think of my blog - constructive comments welcome. Have a great day Sandra Freelance Writer


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