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When I was studying for my CELPIP exam I got material from them. Unfortunately, I can not put the PDF to the public because it has a watermark with my personal email. But I can put you here what it says.

CELPIP's eleventh error as they state:

A common CELPIP grammar error involves subjects and verbs that don’t agree. Plural subjects need plural verbs; singular subjects need singular verbs. However, it can be hard to know which word is the subject and whether it’s singular or plural.

In the present simple tense, plural subjects agree with regular verbs without -s or -es endings. (They wants want lunch.) Ignore any prepositional phrase(s) coming between the subject and the verb; these phrases don’t affect the verb. (Your lesson on safety rules were was helpful.)

Guidelines for Marking Verbs Agree with Subjects

Subject Singular Plural
Compund nouns (two elements considered separately)


Gerunds (nouns ending with -ing) x  
Uncountable nouns x  
Indefinite pronouns: everybody, nobody, someone, something, anyone, anything, everybody x  
Some of, a lot of + singular noun


Some of, a lot of + plural noun   x
Each, every + singular noun (always a singular noun) x  
One of, each of, every one of + plural noun x  
None of, neither of + plural noun (formal register) x  
The number of + plural noun x  
A number of (meaning some) + plural noun   x
Names of countries that end in -s x  
Names of fields of study that end in -ics x  
Most expressions of time, money, weight, volume, and distance (dollars, kilograms, litres) x  


Collective (group) nouns like committee, class, audience, and staff are typically singular. When thinking of individuals within the group, we usually add the word members.

  • Our staff is highly trained, and our staff members learn from each other.

Good luck!

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