Subject-Verb Agreement with Quantifiers

When using certain noun phrases (some of, a lot of, both, either, neither, etc.) as subjects, be aware of subject-verb agreement.

See the examples below.

Count nouns

Non-count nouns

One of the boys is sick.  
Three of the men were alone.  
Several of the apples are rotten.  
Many of the people are students.  
Some of the bananas are ripe. Some of the water is impure.
Most of the girls are here. Most of the wine is red.
A lot of the people are hungry. A lot of the bread is gone.
Half of the cakes are frosted. Half of the cake is frosted.
All of the monkeys are asleep. All of the milk is sour.
None of the men are single. None of the orange juice was left.
(All of the men are not single.)  
None of the men was my father.
NOT - Any of the men was my father.

Unusual usage:

Five gallons of gas is enough.

Five gallons of punch were sold.

Three-fourths of the pie is gone.

Three-fourths of the pie are gone.


Another, the other, and the others

Mary has three brothers.

One of them lives in New York.

One lives in the East.

Another (one) lives in California.

The others live in the West.

The other (one) lives in Hawaii.

John has two sisters.

One (of them) lives in New York.

The other/another lives in Ohio.

(Which is correct?)

Do any of them live in California?

Yes, all of them do.

Yes, some of them do.

No, none of them do.

Do all of them live in the West?

Yes, they all do.

Yes some of them do.

(Do they all live in the West?)

Yes, one of them does.

No, some of them live in the East.

Do both of them live in California?

Yes, they both do.

No, neither of them does.

Both, Neither,and Either

Both Tom and Jerry are here.

Either Pat or Jake is coming.

Neither dogs nor cats are allowed in the office.

Either Mrs. Smith or her kids were at the party.

Neither Jim’s parents nor his sister was at the party.

    Group nouns
    Group nouns can be plural or singular depending on the context.

    The team is scheduled to play next Friday. (as a unit)

    The team are negotiating for pay raises. (as individual members)

    The management does not allow smoking inside the building.

    The staff is/are giving the boss a “going-away party.”

    The herd is/are running in different directions.