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English Grammar: Compound Subjects & Verb Agreement

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What is a compound subject? It is when you combine several subjects together into one. This helps to avoid repetition in a sentence. But how do you make the verb agree with several subjects? For example, do we say "Bill and Kate is kind" or "are kind"? Do we say "Neither John nor his friends need help" or "needs help"? It all depends on subject-verb agreement, which is an important element of writing and speaking in English. In this lesson, we will look at compound subjects and how verbs react to these. I will teach you how to make the verb agree with the subjects in different kinds of sentences. After the video, be sure to do the quiz at https://www.engvid.com/english-grammar-compound-subjects-verb-agreement/ to test yourself on the material. TRANSCRIPT Hi. Welcome to engVid. I'm Adam. In today's video we're going to look at the "Compound Subject". So this is a grammar lesson, and it doesn't matter if you're a beginner or advanced, it's very important to understand this because it's very easy to make mistakes, especially in writing. So, we're going to start by looking at the subject. What is a subject? Just to refresh our memories. The subject is the thing in the sentence or in the clause that is going to do the action or is going to be in the situation of the "be" verb, if it's not an action verb. Right? So... And 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. Right? So let's look at this example: "The doctor is off this week." Right? So when we're talking 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 this... 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". Okay? But we're going to look at "or" after, we're going to start with "and". 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 subjects and you join them together, you're creating a two-or-more situation, or a two-or-more subject, therefore you have a plural subject. Right? So: "The doctor and the nurse are off", so plural, whereas you had singular. Now, it doesn't matter if you have plural pieces. "The doctor and the nurse are", "The doctors and the nurse are", "The doctors and the nurses are", any combination because you're joining them into a group and now they are plural and you have a matching verb. Now, it's very important to remember that we're talking about compounds and we're using a compound conjunction, but if you use: "The doctors"... Well, let's just say "doctor", no "s". "The doctor as well as the nurses are off this week", would this be correct? No, it would not because you're not making a compound. This is an extra. Okay? "The doctor", but if you had: "The doctors as well as the nurses are off this week", that is correct because then you would still have a plural to a plural. Singular, with "as well as", singular. Plural with "as well as", plural. Now: "as well as", "along with", "together with", "accompanied by", all of these expressions are not compound conjunctions. So we only have a compound subject when we have a compound conjunction joining them. Okay? But there are situations where you're 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 grouped thing, they always go together. Spaghetti and meatballs is one idea. Even though you're joining them, they are basically one item. "Peanut butter and jelly is my favourite snack", or "Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are my favourite snack", but then you're using it as an adjective. If it's one piece, if it's a collective, then it's singular. If it's two separate items, then you're making a compound and then you have a plural. Look at this one: "The founder and CEO of the company is ready to sell", "The founder and CEO of the company are ready to sell". Now, which of these is correct? Well, both can be correct. You can have one person who is both the founder of the company and the CEO of the company. So if this and this refer to the same person, then it's a singular subject and you're using "is". If the founder and the CEO are two different people, then you're creating a compound, you have a plural, and then you have "are" as correct. So it's very important to understand what the two pieces on either side of "and" are doing. Are they two separate things, or are they one combined thing? And then you'll know which... If it's a plural or a singular subject. I'm going to give you some more examples after so you'll get an idea, but first let's look at "or". […]
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Text Comments (130)
kamel hatem (16 days ago)
THanks a lot teacher!!!
ramin alikhani (26 days ago)
Adam your lessons are so insightful and widen our perspective on many aspects of English language. Thank you sir.
CarterHD Playz (1 month ago)
This didn’t help me at all... thanks for wasting my time
naufal riyadi (1 month ago)
great lesson....
Fazila Khan (1 month ago)
Hello sir, Is pair noun the type of noun?? And aren’t countable and uncountable nouns are qualities of noun ??
vp vignesh (1 month ago)
Hi...may you take a class how to read and understand actual book or newspaper ...because the example you are given was very easy to understand but when i go to actual sentence in a book i cant understand the meaning...
Sanzida Farhan (2 months ago)
I learned many things from your videos. Thank You. Do you have any video about trees, big tree, small tree? all plants are not called trees.
chuanlin xiao (3 months ago)
MK EngWatch (3 months ago)
superb sir.. Excellent explanation with examples
Ok, in the second example it is "The doctor as well as the nurses is off this week", correct? Now if I maintain the "doctor" (singular) and use "and" instead of "as well", it would be: "The doctor and nurses are off this weak", right?
comments from japan (3 months ago)
Can [a founder and CEO] mean 2 different people? Isn’t it necessary for [CEO] to have [the] in front of it if the expression wants to mean 2 different people since CEO is countable?
Modupe Sarratt (4 months ago)
Interesting for contrasting compounded words and actions in conjunction for application
Ihya Hicham (4 months ago)
Thankx so much about such an amazing video.
EPIC GUITAR (4 months ago)
Hi Adam Could you help me with a doubt? In the question number three on the Quiz why the third answer is correct? I mean, why it was included in the fourth answer? I am sorry if I have many mistakes.
Я Виктор帷克多 (4 months ago)
Thanks again ^^
Cherif Hammar (5 months ago)
my best teacher !! you are very successfull !
Hirendranath Roy (5 months ago)
Very very useful technique is being reflected through this vedeo.Thanks.
Khalifa Plays (5 months ago)
wow youtube is starting to be better than all the other schools lmao
Little TwinS (5 months ago)
Love the ways you teach English. It's easy to understand and memorize. Thank you
buka jaz (5 months ago)
Adam, thank you!
How Large? (5 months ago)
thnku mr.adam.. love friend india. pls continue this phrasal verb session consistently.. also can you please do a lecture in IDIOMS AND PHRASES?
Diego Gauron (5 months ago)
I look forward to watching more videos on your channel.
sandeep satratey (5 months ago)
Thank you, sir, nice lesson. I was confused about the compound subject and verb agreement, and didn't know how to use "is" and "are". Your video made me clear about this. I was always searching for this type of lesson.
venky lucky (5 months ago)
"Do you have a car?" Is it a right expression?
world great (5 months ago)
hi, I have one question, then how abt 'doctor and nurses?? is 'doctor and nurses are' a proper sentence?? thank you!! :)
Diego Santana (5 months ago)
That was a great one :)
Hari Shankar (5 months ago)
wow video was awesome and u teach english very well than indian english teacher
Mohammed Khalid (5 months ago)
Hi adam i have two question for you FIRST should we memorize vocabulary ???? SECOND Q In 24 hours how many i should spend for example to watchting movies english video....etc
sanju pukhrambam (6 months ago)
Sir, would you please elaborate me all the proper pronunciation of the word- THE?
Eder Telvino (6 months ago)
excelent subject. well done
Betül Gündüz (6 months ago)
really it's good
sapna patel (6 months ago)
Nice video sir
Khadar Khan (6 months ago)
where are yyou
Liz Yan (6 months ago)
This video is very helpful. Thanks Adam.
nattsurfaren (6 months ago)
I was listening to a coaching video and heard the guy say: "He identified what the challenges lie" It didn't feel right but I seek to correct myself. I felt it should be "He identified where the challenges lie" I appreciate your help on this.
peace& love (6 months ago)
Thanks from Egypt: )
ana tarrelli (6 months ago)
you're my favorite teacher
G S (6 months ago)
My child is confusing with words how to make him fluent in reading n writing in English
G S (6 months ago)
Sir please tell which website is good for grammar or book for toddlers
Neeraj Dhar (6 months ago)
great work...thanks a lot ...
Srikanth R (6 months ago)
Thanks a lot from India
peroon (6 months ago)
(A and B) is delicious. こういうのもあるんだねー
rudenich_911 (6 months ago)
Haman Prnzhd (6 months ago)
Hi Adam u said because spagetti and meatballs are in the same category we must use "is" when we use "and" between them. I'm wondering why we can't use "is" in ur second example between "doctors" and "nurses" which are in the same category/group too...
Fco. Javier Leyva (6 months ago)
Great video as always Mr. Adam! Can you make a video explaining the difference between the Prepositions and Adverbs of Place?
Chau Do (6 months ago)
I have actually learned this grammar point before at high school, but it wasn’t until I watched this video that I truly understood the nature of compound subjects and how to give the correct forms naturally. Thank you so much, Adam. I hope you’ll keep up the good work!
Great lesson Adam.Thanks
Michael Nicholson (6 months ago)
Adam, what about contruction 'There is' or 'Here is'? Should I use singular or plural in such sentences: "There is/are a book and a pen on the table"
Rosângela Moreno (6 months ago)
Hi Teacher! Could you, please, tell me why CNN use :CNN GO THERE "? And not " CNN goes there"?
Hakar Ali (6 months ago)
Great job Adam .Thanks ,it is quite useful
mem0ju (6 months ago)
hi Adam hope you doing great you are the best teacher and I want you to check my essay.. can you do that please ?
Hossam Khattab (6 months ago)
very clear and very simple thanks
oo John (6 months ago)
In a passive sentence , where do the ' place' put, before 'by agent ' or at the end of the sentence?
English4U (6 months ago)
Good vídeo! Want to keep learning? Come to our channel
王David (6 months ago)
Mohammed Ali (6 months ago)
thank you so much Adam, I'm from an Arabic region and I teach English.. you have no idea how much your vedios help me. thanks a million 🌷
JDamián (6 months ago)
Hi I always has been told that saying "Bill and I" instead of "I and Bill" is a sign of politeness and good manners, which are missing nowadays.
Ludmila Skryleva (6 months ago)
Thanks a lot for your lessons. You are the greatest teacher.
Aayad Abas (6 months ago)
Adam, in the sentence "Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are my favourite snack." is it right "snack". may be in this case should be snacks?
Emily Wu (6 months ago)
Thanks a lot
You are the BEST English teacher in this world!!!!!♥ Love ya'♥
ibrahem atta (6 months ago)
Sousou Him (6 months ago)
Hi my beloved teacher!! your lesson is great.Thank you so muc.
yong luo (6 months ago)
thank you teacher !
wajd Alsaqer (6 months ago)
Thank you But I wish from yours to give an explanation about shifting in tenses
ANDREA EVANS (6 months ago)
Good day TEACHER !!! 🤗🤗🤗🤗 THANKS .... Your video es excellent 😉😉😉😉😉😉
Ana Rocha da Silva (6 months ago)
Hi teacher handsome !
Alfonso Hdez (6 months ago)
Only you could be the one to explain a lesson like this. Tons of thanks.
dileepa (6 months ago)
Thank you Adam ....
EL mehdi EL Guerch (6 months ago)
Neeraj Jasrotia (6 months ago)
Rice and curry is my favorite meal.
Salma Alaa (6 months ago)
Good job..... Thanks
meriem norddine (6 months ago)
Thank you so much Sir .
Алигатор БЛР (6 months ago)
GameXPer (6 months ago)
Hi Adam, can I know if you are a native speaker or not? If you are the native English speaker, which accent do you have? Because it sounds like my accent and I am not a native speaker.
ZMZ TV (6 months ago)
GameXPer He is from Canada so he is a native speaker of English
Lalkrshna Dhakal (6 months ago)
Good good good I like it
last september (6 months ago)
Nice To see you again😍😍😍😍😍 your lessons are very helpful for me.thank you so much. I wish i can see you oneday
Hanna Nice (6 months ago)
I start undetstanding your explanation which was not the case one year ago. Now, I'm so thankful to Engvids' teachers you did me a big favour that I'll never forget. You're such awsome people:-)
Suzana Vicentini (6 months ago)
Adam Useful and clear explanation Hope you show us How to use suffixes like im (impolite),dis (dishonest) and un (unhappy) properly. I am always confused when It comes to using them. Thx a lot
Rusli Irawan (6 months ago)
My best teacher 👍👍👍
Eliza D. (6 months ago)
I am confused in the sentence of “spaghetti and meatballs” is this the only exception of the compound sentence using the conjunction “and?” In the logic of Language I find “spaghetti and meatballs” like plural, therefore the agreement should be: are. But in your explanation you say “is” the right way that verb agrees with the subject. So, where can I find more examples like this?
Eliza D. (6 months ago)
Misha _ Thank you for your time and answer. Nobody else answered my question. This is the only channel where there is not answer! Not even a “like” 😐
Eliza D. (6 months ago)
Misha _ Yeah! I think is clear now!
Misha _ (6 months ago)
So, you are not wrong.
Misha _ (6 months ago)
If for example you counted the meatballs in your plate you can probably use ARE. How many meatballs are there in your plate? There are only three.
Misha _ (6 months ago)
Eliza D. What IS his favourite DISH? His favourite DISH IS ........
이명희 (6 months ago)
I think you're very simply teach learn ~
Eliza D. (6 months ago)
Hi Adam, thank you for your video. I just wanted to review the part where you explain “as well as:” So, if I say: “The doctor, as well as the nurses, is off this week” that is correct! Isn’t it? Now: “The doctors, as well as the nurses, are off this week” is this also correct? Please I hope to hear from you. Thank you.
Sandra Sousa (6 months ago)
Good morning, Adam! Watching your videos from Brazil.
badr banna (6 months ago)
Welcome back..we miss u
Simran Preet (6 months ago)
Hello sir Can you please correct it: 1.Bill and jay are best friends. 2. Bill as well as jay is attending the class. 3. Bill and jay is attending the class. Please sir clearify my confusion
sahil manocha (6 months ago)
Pls make a video on , how fixed prepositions work
Yaser Mohamed (6 months ago)
Ali22 Sudan 22 (6 months ago)
Thanks a lot Adam
pashtana Pashtana (6 months ago)
I really worried when lesson upload very late.
Luck Shan (6 months ago)
Your lessons helped me a lot. Thank You Mr Adam! Very pleased to see your new video.
pashtana Pashtana (6 months ago)
Superb lesson as always. Thank you
מגידו בעמ (6 months ago)
nice subject thx
talha mangi (6 months ago)
Nyc sir
zeinab Abubakr (6 months ago)
please, I want to know how to speak English fluently in a a short time
Sumit Chaudhary (6 months ago)
sir please teach us about tenses in practical way too
ADHAVAN SELVAM (6 months ago)
You are one of the greatest teacher in YouTube.
gabrielleconti (6 months ago)
I didn`t know about "compound subject", now I know. I really appreciate this lesson!
kab kab (6 months ago)
Adam you're GREAT. You explain things clearly!

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