Verbs in English agree with their nouns – singular (I, you, he/she/it, single things, gerunds, and noncountable nouns), and plural (two or more countable nouns).

Sometimes prepositional phrases can be added between the subject and the verb, and they do not change whether the subject is singular or plural. Singular verbs end in +s or +es added on to the base form. The base form is used with plural verbs. The general rule is that either the subject OR the verb ends in -s, but not both.

While this may seem simple, it becomes more complicated as the subjects you write about become more complicated conceptually and grammatically (as noun phrase expansion is one of the main skills necessary for academic reading and writing development).  


Some nouns are always singular:

  • Nothing
  • Neither
  • Either
  • Each
  • Much
  • One
  • Anyone

Some nouns are always plural:

  • Many
  • Both
  • Several

Some nouns can be singular or plural. In these cases, look at the noun type in the prepositional phrase. Some frequent examples:

  • None of the reading was simple.
  • None of the reading assignments were simple.


  • Some of the research was convincing.
  • Some of the research assistants were convinced.


  • A lot of the work was done by graduate students.
  • A lot of the work rooms were in the basement of the library.


  • Most of the journalism was informative.
  • Most of the journalists were informed.


  • All of the new technology was important.
  • All of the new technological innovations were important.