ENGLISHEnglish Grammar



Very useful for various competitive examination for the following:

i) Exams conducted by Staff Selection Commission SSC)

a) Combined Graduate Level Exam (CGLE)
b) SI Delhi Police and CPO Exam
c) Combined Higher Secondary Level (10+2) Exam (CHSL)
d) Stenographers Exams
e) Multi Tasking Skills Exam (MTS)

ii) Bank Probationary Officer Exam (PO Exam) of SBI, RBI, etc

iii) Bank Clerical Exams

iv) Assistant Administrative Officer of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), GIC, etc

v) Railway Exams

vi) Civil Services Exam (UPSC)

vii) Grade-II DAAS of the DSSSB


If contracted form of BE + NOT is used with I in the Present Simple Tense, we use ARE’NT I in interrogative sentences. You cannot say AMN’T I; e.g.

Aren’t I clever?

NOTE: This form is used only in questions; therefore you can’t say I aren’t.

INCORRECT: I aren’t clever.
CORRECT: I amn’t clever.

To express UNFULFILLED DESIRE/WISH/CONDITION in present tense we use WERE form of BE if the subject of BE is used after the following:

1. If 2. As if 3. As though 4. If only 5. I wish
6. We wish 7. He wishes

INCORRECT: If I was the bird I would fly.
CORRECT: If I were a bird, I would fly.

INCORRECT: Sita talks to me as if she was the P.M. of India.
CORRECT: Sita talks to me as if she were the P.M. of India.

INCORRECT: I wish that she was a queen.
CORRECT: I wish that she were a queen.

NOTE: But to express a REAL SITUATION in the present we use present tense form of the verb even after IF/AS IF/AS THOUGH; e.g.

a) If you are ready, you can go.
b) If she comes here, ask her to wait for me.
c) You look as if you know each other.
d) She looks as though she has been dancing.

3. Subject-verb Agreement with WISHES
In wishes we use the verb in the plural

INCORRECT: May he passes his exam this time!
CORRECT: May he pass his exam this time!

INCORRECT: Long lives your mother!
CORRECT: Long live your mother!

4. Subject-verb Agreement with ‘AND’
Two or more singular nouns or pronouns joined by ‘AND’ require a plural verb: e.g.

He and I are playing.

NOTE-I: If the nouns suggest one idea to the mind or refer to the same person or thing, we use the verb in the singular; e.g.

a) Age and experience brings wisdom to man.
b) Bread and butter is his only food.
c) Truth and honesty is the best policy.
d) Slow and steady wins the race.
e) A horse and carriage was seen there.
f) The crown and glory of life is character.
g) The long and short of the story is well known.
h) All coming and going was forbidden.
i) Screaming and shouting was heard from the hall.

NOTE-II: If two uncountable nouns are joined by AND, and referring to the whole class they take plural verbs even if they are not preceded by an article or possessive adjective; e.g.

a) Bread and butter are made from wheat and milk.
b) Only paper and pencil do not make a person a writer.
c) Fear and horror were all on my face. d) Poverty and misery come together.

NOTE-III: If two singular nouns are joined by AND, and they are referring to one single person, they take a singular verb. In such a case the second noun is without an article or possessive adjective. But if each of them is preceded by an article or possessive adjective, we use the verb in the plural; e.g.

1. a) The Chief Minister and Finance Minister is going to Delhi today.
b) The Chief Minister and the Finance Minister are going to Delhi today.

2. a) My uncle and guardian wants me to join a gym.
b) My uncle and my guardian want me to join a gym.

3. a) My friend and colleague has advised me not to use the bike for travelling.
b) My friend and my colleague have advised me not to use the bike for travelling.

NOTE-IV: If two singular nouns are joined by AND, and one or both of them are preceded by EACH or EVERY or NO, they take a singular verb and pronouns and possessives for the subjects are also singular. If the genders of the nouns are different we use the gender in the masculine (not FEMININE); e.g.

a) Each boy and each girl of this class is sincere enough.
b) Every boy and every girl was given an apple.
c) No boy and no girl is present.
d) Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to become a cricketer.
e) Every bench and chair is occupied.

INCORRECT: Each boy and each girl has submitted their assignments.
CORRECT: Each boy and each girl has submitted his assignments.

INCORRECT: Every boy and every girl was given her bag back.
CORRECT: Every boy and every girl was given his bag back.

NOTE-V: If two infinitives (TO+V1) or gerunds (-ING FORM) are joined by AND take plural verb; e.g.

a) To sing and to play are two contrary activities.
b) Remembering and forgetting are inevitable attributes of any personality.

5. Subject-verb Agreement with EACH & EVERY
a) Both EACH and EVERY are used with singular verbs, and convey singular meaning.

1. Every chair was occupied.
2. Each one of these apples is rotten.

NOTE-I: When the subject consists of two or more singular nouns, and any of them is preceding EACH we use the verb in the plural; e.g.

INCORRECT: My uncle and my father each takes the Employment News.
CORRECT: My uncle and my father each take the Employment News.

NOTE-II: When a pronoun precedes EACH, the verb is in the plural; e.g.

We each enjoy parties.

b) ’EACH OF’ takes ‘PLURAL PRONOUN’ or ‘DETERMINER + PLURAL NOUN’; and the verb is singular.

1. Each of you is intelligent.
2. Each of us was ready to take part in the play.
3. Each of the students was quite when the teacher entered. (THE is determiner and STUDENTS is a plural noun)

NOTE: ’EACH OF’ and ‘EVERY ONE OF’ are the same thing. ‘EVERY ONE OF’ and ‘EVERYONE OF’ are different as EVERYONE (one word) is a pronoun equivalent to everybody. ‘EVERY ONE’ (two words) = EACH.

c) If the noun preceding EACH is plural, we use a plural verb; e.g.

INCORRECT: The workers each has his set of problems to say to the owners.
CORRECT: The workers each have their set of problems to say to  the owners.

d) If a sentence has a relative pronoun, in the relative clause we use pronouns in the plural for EACH; e.g.

INCORRECT: Each girl was awarded with a nice present which pleased her very much.
CORRECT: Each girl was awarded with a nice present which pleased them very much.

For complete chapter on SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT read the following book authored by me.

Link to buy the book

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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)