Reviewing Subject-Verb Agreement

Choose the correct verb to complete each sentence.

1. The patients, not the doctor, (is, are) the root cause of the mess in the clinic.
2. Not the manager but his employees (was, were) reprimanded by the president of the corporation.
3. Not the politicians but the school administration (deserves, deserve) full credit for the successful implementation of the literacy program.
4. He, not I, (has, have) the chance to travel next year.
5. I, not your boss, (has, have) full responsibility for what happened.
6. It is not the students but the class adviser who (decides, decide) on the outreach program.
7. The speaker’s exaggerated gestures, not his speech, (has caught, have caught) the attention of the young audience.
8. It is oftentimes said that action—not words—(speaks, speak) louder.
9. Rizal, not Mabini and Bonifacio, (play, plays) a big role in our literary heritage.
10. Not his personal gains but the welfare of his constituents (governs, govern) the administration of a good servant-leader.

1. are
2. were
3. deserves
4. has
5. have
6. decides
7. have caught
8. speaks
9. plays
10. governs

In sentences with negative explanatory phrases containing a noun/pronoun before or after the subject of the verb, the verb agrees with the subject, not with the noun or pronoun in the explanatory phrase.

More examples

CHARACTER, not worldly possessions, is the basis of greatness.
Not you but your FATHER has given a good name to your family.
Not your father but YOU have given a good name to your family.