In lesson one, we looked at what we mean when we examine the Concords of English. In this lesson, we shall consider the rules of concord.
Subject and verb concord
When the subject in a sentence is singular, the verb should also be singular.
She (singular subject) goes (singular verb), not: She go ( plural verb). Also, when the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural.topâ†‘
The girls (plural subject) go (plural verb), not The girls (plural subject) goes (Singular verb).
Subject and Object concord
When everybody, everyone etc. are used, the object must be singular not plural.
Everybody knows his or her name, not : Everybody knows their name.
Mandative subjunctive concord
When prayer, suggestion, wish, demand, recommendation or resolution is used in a sentence, the verb that follows must be plural, whether the subject is singular or plural.
It has been suggested that he go not away.topâ†‘
2) The board has recommended that the manager resign not
3) I Pray that God help me on my upcoming examination not God
The Principle of proximity
This principle states that when there is a list of nouns or pronouns at the level of the subject, it is the nearest noun or pronoun to the position of the verb that will determine the choice of the verb.
If James fails his examination, his teachers, his parents, his friends or John ( ) to be blame.
The correct option to fill that blank is,Â is not because at the subject level, we have his teachers, his friends, his parents and John ( four different people)
In order to choose the correct verb, we will need toÂ choose the nearest subject to the gap as the subject which is John.topâ†‘
Many – a concord
When many – a is used, the verb and the noun that follows must be Singular
1) Many a candidate (not candidates) speaks ( not speak) bad English expressions.
2) Many a girl (not girls) is (not are) here.
The real meaning of the statement 1 and 2 are many candidates and many girls.
A pair of concord
When a pair of …….. is used, the verb must be singular.topâ†‘
1) A pair of trousers (not trouser) lies(not lie) on the bed.
2) A pair of scissors lies (not lie) on the table.
National concord is also called collective noun concord.
A collective noun : is a noun which stands for many unit that constitute that single word.
1) audience which means people who watch programme.
2) congregation which means worshipers.
3) clergy which means religion officers.
4) Club which means association of members.
So whenever, you use a collective noun, the verb that follows must be a plural verb
Let use club,
Club is a collective noun for members, so, we can also say, members of this association
Our club meet ( not meets) ones in a week.
But in some situations, singular verb goes with a collective noun.
Here is the principle;
If the collective noun performs an action, a plural verb follows, but if not, a singular verb follows.topâ†‘
1) Our Club isÂ celebrating its twentieth anniversary today.
In the above statement, you can see that, Our Club performs no action, hence, we use a singular verb.
2) Our Club are (not is) going on a vacation tomorrow.
You can see that, the above sentence is different from the first sentence, here the club is performing an action which is going, hence, we will use a plural verb (are) in compliance with the rule.
3) The audience are (not is) partial in their judgement of the winner.
The answer is are because the collective noun (audience) perform an action “judgement”.
Parenthesis statement is additional statement to what has already been said before.
Note A parenthetical statement should not be considered in choosing the verb that will follow.topâ†‘
1) The teacher, not her students is in the class.
The correct answer is, is because ( not her students) is just parenthesis, and parenthesis has nothing to do with choosing the verb.
2) The manager, not many of his workers, is (not are) here now.
not many of his workers is just a parenthesis, therefore, the parenthesis should be totally ignored.
The manager is a singular noun, hence a singular verb.
Words like, as much as, alongside, as well as, together with, no less than, in association with, including, like, with, and in collaboration with, etc
Mary, as well as her friends is ( not are) beautiful.
The answer is, is because mary is the noun that comes before as well as, hence mary is the subject and it is a singular noun hence a singular verb.
The little kids alongside their parents are (not is) here.
The answer is are not is because the little kids comes before alongside. The subject is plural hence a plural verb.topâ†‘
More than concord
When more than is used, the word or number that comes after more than will determine the next verb.
1) More than two apples are ( not is) here.
2) More than one oranges is (not are) here.
In the first statement, the answer is are not because two attracts are but in the second statement, the correct option is, is not because one attracts is.
Note : Do not think because more than one means at least two,That you will use a plural verb after, no you will use a singular verb.topâ†‘
Indefinite pronoun concord
When any of the following words is used, you should use a Singular verb
Such words as;
Everybody, everything, everyone, everywhere, no one, nothing, nobody, nowhere, something, someone, somebody, anyone, anything, anybody, anywhere and each. the next verb must be singular.
1) Nothing goes ( not go).
2) Everybody likes (not like) him.
3) Everybody thinks (not think) he stole the money.topâ†‘
When who, whose, which and that refers to a previously mentioned noun or pronoun, such noun is a Relative noun
One of the farmers who plant (not plants) on the farm has (not have) been asked to withdraw.topâ†‘
Uncountable nouns of concord
Countable nouns are nouns that can be quantified in units and numbers, that is, are nouns that can be counted.
E.g chairs, tables, phones etc.
Uncountable nouns are nouns that cannot be quantified in units and numbers.
E.g water, information, equipment.
Note all uncountable nouns will avoid sÂ at the back.
It is very wrong to use any of these words below;
E.g informations, clothes, equiments, furnitures, machineries, datas, advices, evidences, wealths, etc.
Instead, you say a piece of, information, evidence, data, cloth, equipment, advice, etc
It is wrong to say machineries instead, you say a machine or two machines.topâ†‘
Other examples of nouns that attracts plural verbs are;
1) The police work hard (not works), but, that policeman (not policemen) works (not work) hard.
police and policemen are collective nouns that is why they attract a plural verb from the seventh rule.
But policeman is not collective noun but a singular noun, hence a singular verb
2)The headquarters look (not looks) palatial.
3) Cattle give (not gives) bad odour, and a cow gives bad odour.
4) Aircraft make (not makes) travelling easier but, that chopper, airbus,Â orÂ aeroplane makes travelling easier.
All the four examples attract plural verb because the subject in each example is a collective noun..
Pluralia tantum are nouns that comes in plural forms.
Some of these words have final s, while some do not. However, whenever any of the following forms appears, it must be followed by a singular verb.
- a)School Subject : Mathematics, Economics, Civics, Physics, Statistics you can see that all of them end with s but it does not show plurality.
- b)Games : Darts, Snakes and Ladders, Draugths, Billiards, Bowls and Skittles etc, all end withs but do not show plurality.topâ†‘
- c)Diseases : Measles, Tuberculosis, Shingles, Mumps etc, all end withs but do not show plurality.
- d)Others : titles, news, series means
1) Theseries of incidents makes (not make) me shudder.
2) The means of transport hastens (not hasten) travelling.
Note : There are some nouns that do not appear as singular at all but as plurals and they often attract plural verbs.topâ†‘
Such words are : Funds (money), annals, spirits, surroundings, guts, earnings, arms (weapons), auspices, the middle ages, entrails, bowels, quarters ( headquarters), banns, means, holidays, stars, suds, wages, thanks, riches, writs, savings, remains, ashes, goods ( product), arrears, outskirts, pains, particulars, fireworks etc.
All these nouns not verbs cannot appear without s and, hence they attract plural verbs
1) His manners are (not is) good
2) The remains (corpse) of the boy have ( not has) been buried.
Double title subject concord
When two subjects are joined together by and but the two subjects refer to only one person or thing, a singular verb should be used.
Our principal and mathematics teacher knows me.
Our principal and mathematics teacher.
In this statement, our principal and mathematics teacher is not two different people but, our principal is also our mathematics teacher, hence the subject is our principal, and it is a singular noun, hence, singular verb.topâ†‘
Consider this example:,
Our principal and the mathematics teacher.
This is quite different from the first statement, because the principal and the mathematics teacher are two different subjects because of the use of the Mathematics teacher
Hence, in this statement you use a plural verb.
When two subjects are joined together by and , the verb to be used should be plural,
1) James and John are (not is) here.
2) Elizabeth and Johnson know (not knows) me.
When a collective name, denoting category (not a collective noun) is used, the verb to be used must be plural.topâ†‘
Categories like : the poor, the rich, the wealthy, the successful, the gifted, the weak, the young in spirit, the handicapped, the helpless etc. The verb to be used should be plural.
1) The poor need help (notÂ helps or needs) from the government.
2)The young are (not is) disobedient.
3) The weak are (not is) left to their fates.
Plural number concord
When amount or unit is mentioned in a statement, unit like, five thousand, three hundred, percent, twenty meters, five times, etc. The next verb must be singular.
1) two pounds of flour is (not are) too few to bake a cake.
2) Ten percent of my earns goes (not go) to my wife.
When mathematical facts are used, such as subtraction, multiplication, addition, division, etc. Are used, the verb will be any of Singular and plural, that is, a singular or plural verb can be used when mathematical facts are used.topâ†‘
1) Ten plus ten is or are ( are and is are both correct) twenty.
2) ten multiplied by two is or are twenty.
Both singular and plural are correct.
Every + plural number concord
When every precedes a plural, the next verb is plural.
Every ten litres of oil bought come (not comes) with a bonus of an extra litre.
But when every appears without any plural number, the verb is singular.topâ†‘
1) Every boy (not boys) likes girls.
2) Every man (not men) likes football.
When and joins two or more subjects with every or each , the verb should be singular.
1) Every man and woman speaks ( not speak) good English here.
2) Every student and teacher comes ( not come) to school early.
Most or much concord
When most is used, the verb will either be singular or plural, depending on whether the referent is a countable or uncountable noun,
1) Most of the boys (countable noun) are tall.
2) Most of the time (uncountable noun), John has (not have) always been there for her.
When Much is used in a statement, the verb to be used must be singular.
1) Much of the water has (not have) been spilled.
When all appears, it means either everything or all the people.
When all means everything, the verb to be used should be Singular but when all means all the people, the verb to be used should be plural.
a) All are already seated in the hall.
In the above sentence, All means all the people are already seated in the all) hence a plural verb.
b) All is well with me.
In the above sentence, All means Everything is well with me hence a singular verb.
When all but is used, the following verb should be plural
1) All but John are (not is) in the bus.
That means, only John is absent.
Either or neither concord
When either or neither joins two singular nouns together, the following verb should be Singulartopâ†‘
1) Either John or Jackson knows (not know) me.
2)Neither Mary nor her friend was (not were) here.
But, when either or neither joins two subjects (one singular and the other plural), the verb should be chosen by considering the nearer of the two subjects.
1) Either James or his friends know me.
You can see that friends is nearer to the verb gap than it is near james.
These rules is also apply, when but or but even joins two subjects.
1) Not only Sola but even teachers laugh in school.
2)Not lawrence but james speaks good English.
You can see that james is nearer to the verb gap than it is near Lawrence, hence, you use singular verb.
Each and one of concord
When each appears in a concord, a singular noun + a singular verb will be chosen.
1) Each boy (not boys) has a car.topâ†‘
But, when each of or one of appears, the next noun should be plural but the next verb should be singular.
1) Each of the candidates (not candidate) stands (not stand) a good chance to win a scholarship.
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