Module 4, Verbs: Agreement and Challenges, Lesson 3:

More Challenges in Verb Agreement


Challenge 6: Collective Nouns

Collective nouns appear to be singular nouns, but they mean a group. Sometimes the group acts as a whole. Other times the members of the group may be acting as individuals. You need to understand how the group is acting in order to choose the correct matching verb.

My family is going to Germany for Christmas. (as a whole group)
My (whole) family is going to Germany for Christmas.

My family usually buy their clothes at Jerry's Fine Fashions. (as individuals)
My family (members) usually buy their clothes at Jerry's Fine Fashions.

Challenge 7: Nouns that End in S

Some nouns end in s even though they are considered singular. These include words like mathematics, civics, measles, news, physics, acoustics, mumps, and molasses.

Mathematics is my favorite class in school.
The mumps is a very painful illness.

Some nouns that end in s are considered always plural such as scissors, pants, trousers, and shorts. They always take a plural verb.

These scissors are mine.
Josh's pants are getting too short.

Challenge 8: Titles of Works

Sometimes the title of a work of literature, art, or music appears to be plural. If it is only a singular work, it needs to be paired with a singular verb.

Parallel Journeys tells the story of a boy and a girl during World War II.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is one of my favorite books.

Challenge 9: Measures and Amounts

When dealing with measurements and money, you have to determine whether you are talking about a number of individual measures or one amount.


Seven dollars is the cost of that cake. (one amount of money)
The dollar is accepted in many countries around the world. (one type of currency)
Two hours is needed to complete this project. (one amount of time that lasts two hours)
Two-thirds of the lemonade has been finished off. (one quantity)


Dollars are accepted in most Israeli stores. (lots of them)
Two hours were spent cleaning the garage Saturday and Sunday. (two one hour periods)
Two thirds of the students are on the field trip today. (individuals)

Practice What You've Learned

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Choose the correct verb to complete the sentence.
"The War of the Worlds," by H. G. Wells, was/were performed on the radio and scared many people who thought aliens were really invading.
The buffalo herd is/are grazing in the meadow.
The fleet of fishing boats is/are staying in port today because of the storm.
Little Women is/are one of my favorite books.
The audience has/have all taken their seats.
For me, physics is/are more interesting than chemistry.
The Three Musketeers is/are an exciting adventure book.
The crew was/were eating their lunches in the shade.
Is/Are those eyeglasses the ones your literature teacher was looking for?
The Screwtape Letters was/were written by the same author as The Chronicles of Narnia.