Use plural verbs with plural indefinite pronouns including the following both few many others and several

Both of the trumpet players were late.

Many of the students have taken the bus to the game.

• Use a singular verb with a noun expressing an amount or measurement.

Twenty feet was the length of the play. Three-fourths of the cake has been eaten.

Exception: Half is always plural because it refers to several individual items. Half of the apples were rotten.

• Use a singular verb with collective nouns unless the meaning of the noun is definitely plural. Collective nouns name groups of people or things including the following: audience, class, club, committee, flock, family, etc.

Our family enjoys water skiing.

The class is planning a surprise for the teacher.

• A subject that comes after its verb must still agree with it in number.

At the end of the street are three sycamore trees. There is only one egg in the refrigerator.

• Use a singular verb with a noun that is plural in form but singular in meaning. Such nouns include branches of knowledge and collective nouns that are single units: athletics, economics, mathematics, statistics, and news.

Mathematics is very popular at this school. The news has been very good lately.

• Use singular verbs with titles of works and company names.

Great Expectations shows how wealth may change a person. Smith Brothers sells used clothing.


Pronouns take different forms, called cases, depending on the grammatical function they serve in a sentence. The chart below lists the three cases.

Subjective Case

Objective Case

Possessive Case



my, mine



you, yours


him, her, it

his, hers, its



their, theirs

• Use the subjective case (also called the nominative case) when the pronoun serves as a subject or a subject complement in a sentence.

They waited for us in spite of the rain.

David said that the volunteers were Tran and he. (He renames the subject.)

• Use the objective case when the pronoun serves as a direct object, an indirect object, or the object of a preposition.

Ray's suit no longer fits him. (direct object)

Erin is going to the park with Martha and me. (direct object)

Melinda sent us a present from Spain. (indirect object)

He could not wait past four o'clock for me to finish. (object of a preposition)

• Use the possessive case in the following situations: before nouns to show ownership; before gerunds; or, for certain possessive pronouns, by themselves to indicate possession.

The man parked his car in front of the school. (Possessive case before a noun) My swimming is improving daily. (Possessive case before the gerund swimming) The book is mine, not yours. (Used by itself. Note that you do not use apostrophes with these words.)

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