Subject–Verb Agreement, Nouns Indicating Number

So far, we have dealt with subjects formed by various forms of nouns and pronouns. In this penultimate section, let us learn about subject–verb agreement for subjects that indicate numbers and quantities.

SVA 4.1 A subject after one of and more than one

A subject after one of takes a singular verb.

  • One of these editors is going to become an editor extraordinaire.

In general, a singular noun follows the phrase more than one and the phrase takes a singular verb.

  • More than one semicircle shape was observed.
  • More than one editor is required to complete this project on time.

SVA 4.2 A plural noun following a lot of, number of, or majority of

When a plural noun follows a lot of, number of, or majority of – to mean a large number or amount – we normally use a plural verb.

  • A lot of these activities involve programming skills.
  • A majority of voters in San Diego County have voted in favour of the initiative.
  • A number of factors have been identified for the recession.

But after the number of, a singular verb is correct: The phrase the number refers to an actual number.

  • The number of stalls in the book fair has dwindled over the years.

SVA 4.3 With phrases containing amount, a fraction, or percentage

The word amount agrees with the verb.

  • A large amount of money was collected.
  • Large amounts of money are spent during elections.

After a fraction or percentage, the verb agrees with the noun.

  • Seventy-one percentage of earth’s surface is covered by water.
  • Almost half the trees were felled for the project.
  • Almost half the cattle were lost during the flood.
  • One-fifth of the income goes as taxes.

SVA 4.4 With a phrase of measurement

Phrases of measurement are considered singular and hence take singular verbs.

  • Three hundred kilometers is not a small distance.
  • Eighty marks is the passing minimum for our courses.
  • Thirty days is the training period.

But

  • Seven days make a week.

With this, we complete the session on subjects indicating the number. Take the quiz to check your understanding.

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