Matching subjects and verbs
Matching up singular or plural subjects with singular or plural forms of a verb is part of the process called agreement. This is easy in simple sentences:
He admits that he is worried. [singular subject and verb]
They admit that they are worried. [plural subject and verb]
More complex sentences can be trickier because they are grammatically ambiguous, for example:
More than one in ten health club members ?admit/?admits to joining a gym for social reasons.
At first glance, the subject of this sentence may appear to be singular. But it’s actually plural, i.e. members rather than one member. You need to use the plural form of the verb, i.e. admit:
More than one in ten health club members admit to joining a gym for social reasons.
You can read more about matching subjects with verbs on the Oxford Dictionaries blog. Here you will find tips on identifying the subject in a sentence as well as questions to test your understanding of matching subjects and verbs.
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