Yale Graduate School Writing Center
1. The subject of a sentence or clause must agree in number with the main or auxiliary verb of that sentence or clause. Ex: The books were on the table yesterday. Whatever you want to do is fine with me. Every book is checked out. One of the books was missing. The news is on at 6:00.
2. With fractions, percentages, amounts and distances a singular verb is used when they are not followed by an of phrase. Ex: $7.50 is the minimum wage. Five miles is an average distance for me to run.
3. When an –of phrase follows a percentage, distance, fraction, or amount, the verb agrees with the noun closest to the verb. Ex: Half of the tables are occupied. 21% of the population is poor. 21% of the books are paperback.
4. With indefinite quantifiers (e.g., all, few, many, much, some), the verb agrees with the preceding noun or clause:
With a singular or non-count noun or clause, use a singular verb: Ex: Much of the book seems relevant to this study. All the information is current With a plural noun, use a plural verb: Ex: Many researchers depend on grants from industry. All the studies are current.
5. Usually, a singular verb follows NONE, even if the noun following it is plural. However, in conversational English, a plural noun has become acceptable. Ex: None of the workers receives a tip. None of the workers receive a tip (less formal).
6. With a collective noun, use either a singular or a plural verb, depending on whether you want to emphasize the single group or its individual members: Ex:
Half of my family lives/live in Canada. All of the class is/are here. Ten percent of the population is/are bilingual.
7. Adjectives proceeded by THE and used as plural nouns take a plural verb:
The rich get richer. The poor face many hardships.
Yale Graduate School Writing Center 8. Expressions using the phrase number of depend on the meaning of the phrase: They take a singular verb...