Lesson: Subject-Verb Agreement - Part II

Comment on Subject-Verb Agreement - Part II

The proliferation of computer games designed to involve many players at once were first developed before the widespread availability of high-speed internet connections.

what is wrong in this sentence?
gmat-admin's picture

The proliferation (of computer games designed to involve many players at once) were first developed before the widespread availability of high-speed internet connections.

The part in the brackets modifies "proliferation." That is, it tells us what kind of proliferation we're talking about. So, the subject is "proliferation." This is a singular subject, and "were" is a plural verb.

Singular noun, plural noun, or singular noun + singular verb ?

Singular noun, plural noun, or plural noun + plural verb ?

Could you please explain? If I use the word "or", does a verb depend on the closest noun?
gmat-admin's picture

The rule for neither/nor (starting at 6:25) also applies to or.

The noun that's closest to the verb is the noun that must match the verb (with regard to singular/plural).

So, "Singular noun, plural noun, or singular noun + singular verb" is correct.

Likewise, "Singular noun, plural noun, or plural noun + plural verb" is correct.

at 02:11
every teacher and dentist ....
so we have two group every teacher and every dentist
why we did not treat them as plural?
thanks a lot
gmat-admin's picture

Check the list of pronouns at 1:10 of the video, and you'll see that the indefinite pronoun "every" is always singular.

My friend just told me "none of the cars is green" is grammatically correct. Because "none" is the contraction of "no one", hence "none" is singular.

"None" is under on your "Dual-purpose" section of words. Therefore, I would have to look at the noun to decide whether I should choose "is/are". In my friend's sentence, "cars" is plural, so I thought I would have to use "none of the cars ARE green." I think I'm confused.
gmat-admin's picture

Yes, I've heard of that strategy as well.

What's important is how the GMAT handles "none," and that's what the video covers.

More on "none" here: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/none-or-none-are


This is very helpful. I am curious, do you have the summary pages of each lesson? It might be handy for a quick review. You can review while in the Subway or the bus
gmat-admin's picture

We have some downloadable Sentence Correction flashcards here: https://www.slideshare.net/GMATPrepNow_free/interactive-sentence-correct...

Even if the indefinite pronoun "every" is always singular, doesn't the addition of "and" make it plural?
gmat-admin's picture

No, "every" is always singular (even if there's an "and")

Thank you for the clarification, Brent :)

Can you please breakdown singular vs plural verbs? I am struggling how "gets", and "cares" is singular while get and care is plural. I thought typically when you add "S" to a word it makes is plural? English isn't my first language and grasping this concept is confusing.
gmat-admin's picture

The construct for VERBS is different from that of NOUNS.

We typically change a NOUN from singular form to plural form by adding an "s"
dog (singular)..... dogs (plural)
apartment (singular)..... apartment (plural)
cloud (singular)..... clouds (plural)

With VERBS, the singular form typically ends with "s"
jumps (singular)..... jump (plural)
smiles (singular)..... smile (plural)
plays (singular)..... play (plural)

Pls explain the solution to the following question:

Noting that the price of oil and other fuel components, a major factor in the cost structure of an airline, have risen and will continue to rise, the company management was pessimistic about their outlook for the upcoming quarter.

a) have risen and will continue to rise, the company management was pessimistic about their
b) have risen and will continue to rise, the company management was pessimistic about the
c) will continue to rise, the company management was pessimistic about the
d) has risen and will continue to rise, the company management was pessimistic about their
e) will continue to rise, the company management was pessimistic about their
gmat-admin's picture

Glad to help!

First off, what rose? The PRICE did.

So, if we ignore the fluff, we get: "Noting that the PRICE ... HAVE risen."

No good. We need the singular HAS risen to agree with the singular PRICE

For this reason, we can ELIMINATE A and B (since they both have "HAVE risen")

Next we have an issue with COMPANY MANAGEMENT.

Answer choices D and E both handle the COMPANY MANAGEMENT issue the in the same way.

Both have "...COMPANY MANAGEMENT (singular) WAS (singular) pessimistic about THEIR (plural) outlook..."

There are two issues here. First, we have singular WAS and plural THEIR both attached to the singular subject MANAGEMENT.

Second, it makes now sense that MANAGEMENT is pessimistic about ITS OWN outlook of event. So, MANAGEMENT is pessimistic about its own pessimism?

For these reasons, we can ELIMINATE D and E.

So, the correct answer is C


Hi Brent,

The current answer choice is A but it is seeming incorrect to me

Many companies require that a resume received in consideration for any vacant positions be error-free and list salary requirements .

A. be error-free and list salary requirements
B. is error-free and it lists salary requirements
C. be error-free and salary requirements are listed
D. to be error-free and salary requirements be listed
E. be error-free, and it listed salary requirements
gmat-admin's picture

Hi Jalaj,

I suggest that you stick to answering Official Sentence Correction questions only. Given then the many grammatical nuances possible, it's best to stick with the resource that matters most: the official test-makers.

As you can see here,

If you use GMAT Club's question filter (https://gmatclub.com/forum/search.php?view=search_tags), you'll find hundreds and hundreds of official SC questions.


Hi Brent,

When we are using Some of the (Noun), isn't noun always plural?
There is one example in the video, Some of the apples vs Some of apple. Why and where would we be using Some of the apple.
If you can elaborate this with more examples that would be really helpful.
gmat-admin's picture

Good question.

In the majority of cases, the noun is plural, but there are still many instance in which the noun is singular:
- Some of the WINDSHIELD is covered in frost.
- Some of the GLACIER is submerged underwater.
- Some of the PAINT is chipping off.


Hi Brent,

I have seen on one website the word "staff" in the possessive form, which puzzled me.

As such companies must employ high-quality managers, who can maximize their staffs's output.

WHY staffs's output.

It seems as if the word "staff" can be plural(staffs) and then to this plural form we add 's. Doesn't make sense

What do you think?

Thank you in advance,

gmat-admin's picture

Good question!
I believe that there can be multiple STAFFS.
For example, a restaurant might have a server staff, a cook staff and a cleaning staff.

So, for example, if these various staffs each had the same health plan, we could refer to the STAFFS' (or STAFFS'S) health plan.

Does that help?


Hi Brent,

Thank you for the answer,

But I am still a bit confused,

I perceive "staff" as an uncountable word that constitutes
a group of employees. "I complain about one of our staff" not "one of our staffs"

I don't think we can use staff the same as employees.

I like my staff = I like my employees
which means that↓
I like my staff ≠ I like my employee.

What do you think,
gmat-admin's picture

I wouldn't worry about this one (very esoteric) topic.
The GMAT will never have a question that requires knowledge of the plural of STAFF.
There is no consensus on the matter.

Yulia's picture

Hi Brent,

Could you please tell me why B is wrong?

gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/for-almost-a-hundred-years-after-having-its-b...

Answer choice B says: Beginning in 1788 for a period of a hundred years, England exiled some 160,000 criminals to Australia.

This sentence begins with a noun modifier.
So, when we get to the comma, we should stop and ask the question raised by the opening phrase.
If the sentence is properly constructed, the word following the comma will correctly answer the question.

So, once we read" beginning in 1788 for a period of a hundred years", we'll stop ask, "Who or what began in 1788?"
Reading on, we get ENGLAND....
Hmmm. ENGLAND began in 1788?
No, the EXILE began in 1788.
So answer choice B is incorrect

For more on opening modifiers, watch: https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gmat-sentence-correction/video/1163

Hi Brent,
Please help me with this sentence.

According to the EDC of Los Angeles county, If the Los Angeles metropolitan area WERE / IS a separate nation, it would have the world's 11th largest gross national product, bigger than that of Australia, Mexico, or the Netherlands.

My question is, why we used WERE and not IS?
Thank you
gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/according-to-the-economic-development-corpora...

This is a conditional sentence.

There are three types of conditional sentences tested on the GMAT:
1st conditional: If something HAPPENS (simple present tense), something else WILL happen.
2nd conditional: If something HAPPENED (simple past tense), something else WOULD happen.
3rd conditional: If something HAD HAPPENED (past perfect tense), something else WOULD HAVE happened.

The given sentence includes the words "WOULD have the world's..."
Important: Some students will incorrectly conclude that HAVE is paired with WOULD to create a 3rd conditional. However, there is no additional verb to create a 3rd conditional. For example, if we had WOULD HAVE CREATED (or some other verb), then we would have a third conditional.
Since there is no such additional verb, we have a 2nd conditional on our hands.

As such, we need the simple past tense WERE.

For more on conditional sentences, watch: https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gmat-sentence-correction/video/1179

Got it. Thank you very much

Hi Brent, is it possible that an OA in Wiley's verbal review book could be wrong?
Question: https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-bank-holds-3-billion-in-loans-that-are-seriously-delinquent-or-in-45320.html#p320210
I chose answer C but the official answer for this was B. Then I thought about going to gmatclub.com because I really struggled to understand how B could be correct. The answer on gmatclub.com is C. Which answer should I consider final? Moreover, Wiley's material has been my base for preparation, if one OA is wrong, then idk how many OA's could be wrong and the scariest part right now is that how many incorrect answers have I accepted from Wiley's material.
I found this incorrect answer in verbal review 2019, the online question bank on app.efficientlearning.com.
gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-bank-holds-3-billion-in-loans-that-are-se...

The correct answer is definitely C.

Here's what answer choice B produces: The bank holds $3 billion in loans that are seriously delinquent or in such trouble that IT does not expect payments when IT is due.
The first IT correctly refers to the singular BANK.
However, the second IT incorrectly refers to plural LOANS
So, answer choice B is definitely wrong

The 2017 version of the Verbal Review shows the correct answer as C.
I wouldn't worry too much about that one typo.
For the most part, the official materials are usually very accurate.

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