Lorraine Forrest-Turner

Subject verb agreement

03 Nov / by: Lorraine Forrest-Turner

Subject verb agreement (Lorraine likes grammar, they like being fashionably late) is easy when it’s clear who or what the subject is. But how about “one in ten employees is unhappy at work”?

It’s tempting to assume “is unhappy” is right but it’s not because the subject of the sentence is “employees” and not “one in ten”. It should read “one in ten employees are unhappy at work”.

Here’s another subject verb agreement that can throw you. “His gorgeous body, as well as his healthy bank balance, makes him irresistible.” Some people think it should be MAKE. But the subject of the sentence is “his gorgeous body”, which is singular. It would be MAKE if it read “his gorgeous body AND his healthy bank balance make him irresistible.” Here the subject is “his body and his bank balance”, which is plural. Watch out for “as well as”, “together with” and “accompanied by”. They make the subject singular. So we say “your payment, together with the completed booking form, NEEDS to reach us by Friday” but “your payment AND the completed booking form NEED to reach us by Friday”.


Teach me how to put    apostrophes in all the right places


Lorraine is a trainer for the PRCA
Lorraine is a trainer for the PRCA
Lorraine is a member of the Professional Copywriters' Network
Lorraine is a trainer for Big Fish Training