Grammar Lesson: Agreement Involving Prepositional Phrases
A verb will agree in number with the sentence's subject.
- In the sentence, "One of the girls is counting the tickets," the subject is one and the verb is is. Both the subject and the verb are singular.
- In the sentence, "Many of the girls are counting the tickets," the subject, many, and the verb, are, are plural.
Notice how in these example sentences the subjects and verbs agree in number.
- The design for these few buildings is intricate. (The singular subject, design, agrees in number with the singular verb, is.)
- The portraits in the White House are memorable. (The plural subject, portraits, agrees in number with the plural verb, are.)
Note: When you are working with the indefinite pronouns that can be either singular or plural (all, any, more, most, none, and some), the verb will agree in number with the object of the preposition in the prepositional phrase that is associated with the verb.
- Some of the newspaper is missing. (Because some can be either singular or plural, match the verb with the object of the preposition. As newspaper is singular, use is [not are] as the verb.)
- Some of the newspapers are missing. (Because some can be either singular or plural, match the verb with the object of the preposition. As newspapers is plural, use are [not is] as the verb.)
Underline the subject of each sentence, and then circle the verb that agrees in number with it.
- Many buildings in our city (is, are) managed well.
- Outside the stores, several men (was, were) chatting.
- This cryptic drawing, in addition to these others, (seem, seems) to be the work of a very talented artist.
- The residents of this farm community (select, selects) a new mayor every six years.
- Both of the monkeys in this large cage (is, are) very active.
- The persons in this remote location (interest, interests) the scientists.
- These cans, as well as this bottle, (has, have) been on the ground for several days.
- A note sent to the senators (was, were) discussed at the private meeting.
- Particles in the air (annoy, annoys) the flies.
- Juan’s relative from the United States (live, lives) in Denver, Colorado.
- The antiques in this catalog (has, have) already been appraised.
- The cartoon monster with the hairy arms (frighten, frightens) my young cousin.
- Several of the new toys (excite, excites) the children in the store.
- The pair of earrings (belong, belongs) to my wealthy aunt.
- These notes on the board (need, needs) to be copied and memorized.
(The subject is listed first; the verb follows.)
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