Monthly Archives: October 2016

OET Writing – Making subjects and verbs agree Part 2: Compound Subjects

The word “compound” means made up of two or more parts. Here are some examples of compound subjects:

  • “diet and exercise”
  • “blood pressure, glucose level and mental state”
  • “food or medication”
  • “condition, complication or concern”

When more than one noun or pronoun is the subject of one verb, each of them still needs to agree with the verb. There are certain rules that must be followed:

Joined by AND:

Rule #1: Two or more singular or plural nouns joined by “and” act as a plural compound subject, and a plural verb is used.

e.g. The venlafaxine and aspirin are being continued.

Joined by OR/NOR:

Rule #2: When two or more singular or plural nouns are joined by “or/nor”, the verb agrees with the noun closest to it.

e.g. Neither the mother nor the baby had any postnatal issues.

e.g. Mr Jones or his relatives are collecting his medication.

Try the exercise below to practice your subject-verb agreement skills! J

Best of luck,

Anna Brzeska (OET Teacher)

Exercise : Circle the correct verb (singular or plural) in the following sentences:

  1. The date and time of the accident is/are not certain.
  2. Physical therapy and acupuncture is/are recommended by the orthopedist.
  3. Neither the patient nor the doctor was/were prepared for the tumor found in the patient’s brain on MRI last Tuesday.
  4. Dietary changes or insulin commencement is/are

Answers: 1. are, 2. are, 3. was, 4. is.

 

– Anna Brzeska, OET Teacher

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