In the previous section, we learned the basic premise of subject–verb agreement and cases involving a simple subject. The subjects could be nouns or pronouns. You may recall that pronouns have brought in variety by their ability to act as a singular and/or plural noun based on the context. In this section, we move our attention to compound subjects.
At the end of this section, you will be able to validate agreement between the subject and its verb when
When a compound subject is formed by connecting two subjects with and, the verb is plural.
Journal issues and conference proceedings are the two subjects, making their combination plural.
However, recall from SVA 1.2 that each and every indicates a singular subject in phrases such as each and every x.
Another exception is when two nouns come together to indicate a single object, such as bread and butter; such subjects are also considered singular.
Be careful! Bread and butter may indicate individual elements, as in a grocery list, in which case the subject is plural.
When a compound subject is formed by connecting two subjects with or, the verb is determined by the subject closer to the verb.
Warning: This subject may not always be the second one, as it is commonly misunderstood.
Remember our discussion on the formation of subjects in inversions? That the auxiliary verb appears before the subject. In this case, the verb will be determined by the first subject.
A compound subject may be formed with not or not. . . but . . . . In these cases, the positive subject determines the verb (that is, the subject followed by not is not considered for agreement).
When correlative conjunctions such as either/or, neither/nor, not only/but also, and whether/or are used to form compound subjects, the verb is determined by the subject closer to the verb.
With both/and, the verb is plural.