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Section 6.8.1

Subject-Verb Agreement

Your verb must agree with your subject in number and person. If your subject is singular, your verb must besingular; if your subject is plural, your verb must be plural. If your subjectis in the first person, your verb must be in the first person. If your subjectis in the second or third person, your verb must agree.


For more than a century, researchers has known thatexposure to high pressure can injure or kill living organisms.


For more than a century, researchers have known thatexposure to high pressure can injure or kill.

--"The Physiology of Decompression Illness,"Scientific American

In general, you can think of subject-verb agreement as requiring one -sper clause, either on the subject or on the verb, butnot on both. (Of course, this rule applies only with present tense verbs and nouns that do not have irregularplural forms.)

Do not be led astray by modifying phrases thatseparate the subject and the verb. If you are not sure about the subject-verbagreement, test the sentence by leaving out the modifiers.


A mixture of materials were used towithstand high temperatures. [The subject is mixture, not materials.]


A mixture of materials was used towithstand high temperatures.

Also see subject-verb agreement involving two or morenouns, collective nouns, indefinite pronouns, quantifiers and sentences beginningwith there.

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