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.
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". […]
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?
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.
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.
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...
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!
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?
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?
“The doctors, as well as the nurses, are off this week” is this also correct?
Please I hope to hear from you.
Lovely! 😊 I absolutely enjoyed the lesson. I do such mistakes,these agreements ,more often ,comes or used on daily life in conversation . It's one of the important topic which you have cleared . Thanks Adam. <3 you. You teachers are more than anything for me. I can't describe you all in words of your worth and specialities and also all those precious knowledge which you have been delivering us! These are irreplaceable and incomparable ! Tons of thanks and love to you all! You all are always in ma mind in the form of good wishes! ❤
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