If two singular nouns or pronouns are joined by ‘and’, then plural verb is used.
- Reena and Meena are playing. (correct)
- He and his sister are singing. (correct)
► However, if two singular nouns are joined by ‘and’ and refers to the same person, things or idea, then the verb must be singular.
- The Magistrate and Collector has come. (correct) [magistrate and collector is used for the same person]
► When article is used before the nouns, two different persons or things are intended, hence plural verb should be used.
- The Magistrate and the Collector have come. (correct) [magistrate and collector are different person, use of article before both nouns]
- A camera and a mic have been installed.(correct)
► If two singular subjects are joined by ‘and’ but before them there is each/every then singular verb is used.
- Each manager & each officer have to attend the meeting. (incorrect)
- Each manager & each officer has to attend the meeting. (correct)
Verb is used according to the first subject when two or more subjects are followed by with, along with, as well as, except, but, besides, nothing, unlike, like, in addition to, rather than together with etc.
- Seema along with her friends is watching a movie. (correct)
- Milk besides pulses is a good source of protein. (correct)
The verb is used according to first subject when two or more subjects are followed by with, along with, as well as, except, but, inside, nothing, like, like
If two or more subjects are connected by or, nor, either—or, neither—nor, but also etc. then verb is used according to closest subject.
- Neither my daughters nor my wife are going to movie. (incorrect)
- Neither my daughters nor my wife is going to movie. (correct)
If two subjects are connected by not / not----but, then verb is according to the subject which is not with ‘not’.
- Not she but her friends are going to party. (correct) [verb follows ‘her friends’]
- She, not her friends is going to party. (correct) [verb follows ‘she’]
If subject of a sentence is Each, Either, Neither, Every, anyone, Someone, Everybody, Anybody, Nobody, None, Everyone, Everything, Something, Nothing, Anything, then a Singular Verb should be used.
- Everybody knows that. (correct)
- He proposed both the girls but either has responded. (correct)
Also note, singular verb is used after Each of, Either of, Neither of, Everyone of, one of etc. However, plural noun or pronoun is used after them.
- Either of the girls has topped in the exam. (correct) [plural noun and singular verb has been used]
- Neither of them looks happy. (correct)
After Both, both of, few, few of, many, many of, a great many, a number of, a large number + plural noun + plural verb is used
- Many artists live in Kolkata. (correct) [plural noun ‘artists’ and plural verb ‘live’ have been used]
- A number of questions were asked. (correct)
Note: Confusion usually arises when instead of Many, Many a/an OR instead of A number of, The number of is used as:-
► After Many a/an + Singular noun + Singular Verb is used.
- Many a boy has not done his homework. (correct) [usage of singular noun ‘boy’ and singular verb ‘has’]
► After The number of + Plural Noun + Singular verb is used.
- The number of cars is increasing in India. (correct) [usage of plural noun ‘cars’ and singular verb ‘is’]