Here are some example sentences: (The subjects are bold, and the verbs are underlined.)
Sheis playing outside. (singular)
Theyare playing outside. (plural)
Markruns on the track team. (singular)
The boysrun on the track team. (plural)
If you are unsure what a plural verb looks like, know that many singular verbs end in s while the plural form of the verb does not - just like run/runs above. However, this is not true for the to be verbs.
Compound means two or more. The rule above is straightforward and easy to remember when you have one subject, but what happens when you have two or more subjects?
1. For singular compound subjects joined by and, use a plural verb.
My sisterandbrotherwalk to school.
2. For singular compound subjects joined by or or nor, use a singular verb.
A lamporclockis in the box.
3. For plural compound subjects joined by or or nor, use a plural verb.
Neither lampsnorclocksare in the box.
4. For compound subjects that are both singular and plural joined by or or nor, use the verb that agrees with the closest subject.
Neither Jennifernor the boys are in the race.
Either the boysorJenniferis in the race.
8 Handy Grammar Graphics gives you a fun and visual way to get started teaching or learning grammar and sentence diagramming. Yay!