Sentence Corrections – Part I


The fluency of a language can be gauged by the ability to find mistakes and correct them. For this, one should be very clear with grammatical rules. We will be discussing sentence correction under the following heads:

  1. Subject-Verb Agreement
  2. Modifiers
  3. Pronoun Agreement
  4. Comparisons

Subject Verb Agreement.
The verb and the subject must always agree in Number as well as in Person.

Two or more singular subjects when joined by ‘and’ require a plural verb.

  • He and I were studying in the same school.
  • Violet and red are at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

Two or more singular subjects when joined by ‘or’or ‘nor’ require a singular verb.

  • Neither tea nor coffee was available in the cafeteria.
  • Fear or desire is simply a self-made channelization of thoughts.

Two or more nouns when qualified by ‘each’ and ‘every’ require a singular verb.

  • Every boy and every girl of the troupe was given an individual room.
  • Each and every student was given a volunteering certificate.

Words which are joined to a singular subject by ‘with’, ‘as well’ etc. require a singular verb.

  • The cupboard, with its beautiful teak drawers, was an elegant piece of craftsmanship.
  • The ship, with its crew was lost.

A collective noun takes a singular verb when the collection is taken as a singular entity. A plural verb is used when they are taken as a collection of a number of entities.

  • The committee has published its report.
  • The committee are divided on one minor point.

‘Either’, ‘neither’ must be followed by a singular verb.

  • Neither of the applicants was found to be eligible for the job.

Some nouns which are plural in form but singular in meaning require a singular verb.

  • There is some good news.
  • Politics is a mix of greed and viciousness.

When a singular subject is separated from other subjects by a comma, it requires a singular verb.

  • The teacher, along with his students, was going to the museum.

Given below is an exercise to elucidate these rules. Correct the underlined words.

  1. Each of these languages are spoken in India.
  2. Either he or I are mistaken.
  3. A good man and honest citizen have passed away.
  4. A good man and an honest citizen have passed away.
  5. Sixty Rupees are too much for this bag.
  6. Gulliver’s Travels are written by Swift.
  7. The jury were divided in their opinion.
  8. Three parts of the business are left for me to do.
  9. The jury were satisfied after giving the verdict.
  10. No news are good news.


  1. Is
  2. Am
  3. Has
  4. No Correction
  5. Is
  6. Was
  7. No Correction
  8. Is/was
  9. Was
  10. Is


We now go onto sentence corrections related to modifiers.

Modifiers are of two types

  • Adjectives- words which describe nouns

She is a sweet girl. ( Sweet is the adjective)

  • Adverbs- words which describe verbs

The birds chirp sweetly in the springtime. ( Sweetly is the adverb, it describes how the birds chirp)

In most cases we can make the adverb by adding ‘-ly’ to the adjective. There are some exceptions to this rule

  • Good- adjective, well- adverb. There is no such word as ‘goodly’.

There are some cases where the adjective and the adverb are the same word:

  • Early
  • Fast


  • She is a good dancer. (Adjective)
  • She dances very well. (Adverb)
  • He came to the fort early. (Adverb)
  • It is an early decision. (Adjective)
  • He is a fast runner. (Adjective)
  • He ran very fast. (Adverb)
  • After the accident, he began to lisp very badly. ( Since lisp is a word we need to use an adverb)

There are some verbs, mainly the verbs of sense which are described by adjectives and not adverbs. These verbs of sense include the following

  • Look
  • Be
  • Seem
  • Feel
  • Smell
  • Taste

It would therefore be wrong to say that something tastes ‘deliciously’, the correct sentence would be

The lemon meringue tastes delicious.( Though tastes is a verb we are using an adjective to describe it)

She looked very good after returning from a holiday in the Alps.

The main point to be kept in mind is that the usage of adverbs and adjectives should not be confused. We can go through his exercise to understand the concept better. Correct the following sentences.

  1. The flowers smell sweetly.
  2. We feel warm on the subject.
  3. The kitchen smells well.
  4. She is a real good artist.
  5. He is so intelligent.


  1. Sweet will replace sweetly
  2. Warmly will replace warm
  3. Good will replace well
  4. Really will replace real
  5. Very will replace so

We will deal with Pronoun Agreement and Comparisons in the next issue –> Click Here!

Arti Mohan 🙂


  1. sir please explain ques no. 3 in subject -verb agreement i.e A good man and honest citizen have passed away.,it has used two singular subjects seperated with “and” so we have to use plural verb but it is indicated to use singular verb.plz mail me the answer at

  2. sir it has used two singular subjects seperated with “and” so we have to use plural verb but it is indicated to use singular i think their will be no correction and that has been mentioned in the Q.4 itself

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