Compound Subject Verb Agreement

We always have to make sure that our subject and our verb agree, they must agree especially in terms of number, if you have a singular subject you must have a singular verb. So, let’s look at this example:

The doctor is off this week.

when we talked about the doctor, there’s one doctor, his or her situation is that he or she is off this week. they’re on vacation, right? so we have a singular verb.

Now we’re going to look at compounds in terms of taking two pieces and making one subject out of the two individual pieces. we’re going to look at “and” and we’re going to look at “or”, “either”, “or”, “neither”, “nor”.


First thing you need to remember about “and”, it works like a plus sign, one plus one equals two. So, when you take two individual subject and you join them together, you’re creating a two or more situation, or two or more subject, therefore you have a plural subject.

The doctor and the nurse are off this week.
The doctor ,as well as the nurse is off this week.

But there are situations where you going to have a compound, but you still have a singular subject. Spaghetti and meatballs is delicious.
not “are”, why is this singular? because this is a group thing they always go together. spaghetti and meatballs is one idea. even though you’re joining them they are basically one item.

The founder and CEO of the company is ready to sell (correct)
The founder and CEO of the company are ready to sell(correct)


What you have to remember about or or nor is that the verb will agree with the last part of the compound, so that the second part is the singular, the verbal match singular, if the second noun is plural, the verb will match plural.

Neither Tom nor his sister likes …(to cook)
his sisters like

Either Jill or kevin needs to be let go.
the marketing team needs to
three junior managers need to …..

More example:
Winning and losing is a mindset.
Wins or losses do not affect player’s salaries.
10 success or 1 failure amount to the same thing.

Now keep in mind sometimes you have a collective nouns as subjects.Ddon’t confuse collective nouns, like: “the police”, “the staff”, “the team”,that’s a different thing from a compound noun.

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