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Subject, Verbs

Note 51 – Subject and verb (agreement in number) Part 2

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 51, then please read on…

Agreement in number between compound subjects and the verb

Yesterday I talked a little bit about compound subjects and the agreement in number between subject and the verb.  I also promised to start today with a test.  Please choose whether the sentences below should have is or are in them:

Q1. Vodka and orange is/are my favourite drink at the moment

Q2. Judy and Tom is/are coming over for tea tomorrow.

For the answers, please see the end of this blog.

What happens when you have compound subjects where the sentence begins with each or every?

Bernard C Lamb in his book The Queen’s English explains that in the case where compound subjects are grouped together by each or every, a singular verb would follow.  Please see examples below:

Each apple, banana and kiwi in the bowl is fresh and ready to eat

Every DVD, book and CD in the house has been bought by me.

Explanation: The compound subjects above are grouped by each or every, therefore they are followed by the singular verbs is and has (as opposed to the plural verbs are and have).  If you read yesterday’s blog, you may also remember that the words underlined are the ones between the subject and the verb which do not affect the agreement (please refer to note 50 if this doesn’t make sense).

My thoughts: After two days of reading about agreement in number between subject and verb I feel confident that I will remember these rules.  It’s not too difficult once you know how.

Hope you’ve had a good Monday

Until tomorrow…


This blog:

My other blog:

My website: (includes first chapter of my book)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

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

Answers to test

Q1. Vodka and orange is my favourite drink at the moment

Explanation: vodka and orange is a classic combination treated as a single unit, therefore should be followed by a singular verb.

Q2. Judy and Tom are coming over for tea tomorrow.

Explanation: Judy and Tom are singular nouns and not treated as a single unit, therefore should be followed by a plural verb.

Well done if you got them right!  Good try if you didn’t – just open up the blog again in a few day and have another go.


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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