Set I, 29

Making Verbs Agree With Their Subjects

Copy the following sentences, choosing the correct form of the verb. Put parentheses around the prepositional phrase after each simple subject, and draw an arrow from the verb to its subject.


One of the strange birds (was, were) a helmeted hornbill.

One (of the strange birds) was a helmeted hornbill.

A. 1. The green clock with the brass buttons (belong, belongs) to the drum major.

2. The small teeth around the edge of the postage stamp (are, is) called "perforations."

3. A half-million emigrants from the East (was, were) scattered along the Pacific Coast by 1859.

4. The clamor of the gulls (was, were) deafening.

5. Two boys in our class (own, owns) home terrariums.

6. Accidents in the home (are, is) often due to downright carelessness.

7. One of the pigs (has, have) escaped from the pen.

8. The list of proposed class officers (has, have) just been put on the bulletin board.

9. The runners on an Eskimo sled (are, is) coated with mud.

10. The roots of a tree (absorb, absorbs) water and minerals from the soil.

B. 1. The earliest book on checkers (was, were) published in 1547.

2. The bells of a carillon (are, is) tuned with great accuracy.

3. The very small feet of the swallow (make, makes) perching difficult.

4. The two bowls of buttered popcorn (was, were) quickly emptied.

5. One of the slides (show, shows) Harry riding a bucking bronco.

6. The drone of the motors always (lull, lulls) me to sleep.

7. Since their discovery in 1901 the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico (has, have) attracted many visitors.

8. At the zoo one of the giraffes (was, were) sleeping standing up.

9. The two humps of the Bactrian camel (are, is) not used for storing water.

10. The monkeys in the Monkey Jungle (was, were) swimming back and forth across the little pond.

B. 4 SUBJECT AFTER VERB Sometimes the subject comes after the verb. No matter where the subject is, make the verb agree with it.

There is frequently used to invert sentences. As an introductory word there is never the subject.

Use there is with a singular subject and there are with a plural subject.

There goes Hal Clark in his new kayak.

There were some old love letters in the secret drawer of the desk.