[Contents] [Index] [Back] [Glossary] [ESL] [<<] [>>]

Subject-Verb Agreement: Intervening Words

When words come between the subject and the verb, find the verb and ask Who? or What? about it to determine exactly what the subject is. Ignore any intervening words.
  Examples The shoppers in the store look tired.
[Who looks tired? The subject, shoppers, is plural.]

Her collection of baseball cards is valuable.
[What is valuable? The subject, collection, is singular.]

The government's proposals about preserving the environment cause controversy.
[What things cause controversy? The subject, proposals, is plural.]
Do not be confused by intervening words ending in -s, such as always and sometimes. The -s ending still must appear on a present tense verb if the subject is singular.
  Example His assistant always makes mistakes.
Phrases introduced by as well as, along with, and in addition to that come between the subject and the verb do not change the number of the verb.
  Example His daughter, as well as his two sons, wants him to move.
See also
Sentence Problems: Subject-Verb Agreement