Grammar Review Exercises

[The following exercises have been prepared by Ian Johnston of Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC.  These pages are in the public domain and may be used, in whole or in part, by anyone, without permission and without charge, provided the source is acknowledged.  Last revised April 2002]

Subject-Verb and Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement


In English verbs must agree with their subjects (singular or plural), and pronouns must agree with their antecedents (singular or plural, masculine or feminine or neuter). Make sure you understand this point, particularly with reference to two common sources of problems: group names and gender-free language.

Be particularly careful with general words which are singular (e.g., a person, one, a student, the reader, anyone, someone, and so on).  These must take a singular verb, and any pronoun refering to them must be in the singular.

2.0 Exercise in Subject-Verb and Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

Select the appropriate form of the verb in each of the following sentences.

1. The army (is/are) searching for (its/their) equipment, and the police (is/are) assisting with (its/their) off-duty officers.

2. My collection of five hundred books on all sorts of scientific subjects, which (was/were) recently valued at three hundred thousand dollars (has/have) been destroyed.

3. The star player along with the coach (has/have) disappeared, together with (his/their) luggage; the rest of the team (is/are) flying on without them.

4. The United States (is/are) a powerful country; (its/their) economy is really strong. But the countries of the European Union (is/are) acquiring an economic influence to rival that of the US. (Its/their) economy is something to reckon with.

5. Five hundred dollars (is/are) a lot of money to pay for those fifteen sweaters which (make/makes) up the shipment.

6. Either the prime minister or his chief advisors (has/have) lied to us; (his/their) press release, together with the supplementary statement (makes/make) that very clear.

7. The long-playing record The Devil's Disciples (was/were) a really controversial album, but then the Rolling Stones (likes/like) to call attention to (its/their) naughty ways.

8. I would welcome (you/your) paying this bill as soon as possible. The latest charge including the previous debt (amounts/amount) to three hundred dollars.

9. Everyone (is/are) required to write the examination; no one who misses the examination (gets/get) a chance to make up the loss.

10. Jackson (is/are) one of the six new people who (was/were) selected for the team. He is the only one of the six who (has/have) never played soccer at this level before.

11. Gorman Brothers Limited is expanding (its/their) workforce; (it/they) will be hiring ten more workers for the late shift.

12. Malaspina University-College (has/have) a complicated registration system. (It/They) believe in treating students like a flock of sheep with lots of money in (its/their) possession.

13. Everyone of them (is/are) coming to lunch; not one of them (has/have) declined the invitation; and I expect all of them (is/are) going to donate something to the campaign in order to look out for (his/their) interests.

14. My library of five hundred books and two thousand computer disks (is/are) insured.

15. The open disagreement among the family members which (brings/bring) on all sorts of problems in many different scenes (introduces/introduce) us to the underlying tensions.

16. The teacher or the students (has/have) made a mistake about the due dates for the essay.

17. The bus together with the car (has/have) been in an accident.

18. This problem along with the essay assignment I have to complete (is/are) destroying my social life this weekend.

19. A number of important issues (is/are) up for discussion at the Council meeting today. The Executive together with the Council has/have agreed to meet later this evening.

20. The army (is/are) going to attack at dawn, but the police (is/are) staying at home.

21. The Rolling Stones (is/are) basically a seedy bar band; Hootie and the Blowfish (has, have) a great deal more musical class than the Stones.

22. Rock 'n roll (is/are) my favorite music, and ham and eggs (is/are) my favorite food. The combination of Jerry Lee Lewis music and western sandwiches (is/are) an excellent way to start Saturday morning.

3.0 Pronouns

Supply an appropriate pronoun in the space provided or correct the misuse of pronouns where appropriate in the following sentences.

Pay particular attention to the appropriate use of which, this, and it. These must have very specific antecedents. If they don't they you have to provide an antecedent.

1. Every student must complete ___________ work on time, or _________ will incur a penalty.

2. If someone wants to do some extra work, ______________ should complete this assignment..

3. Lengel insults and embarrasses the three young girls. For Sammy it is not fair.

4. No one should have spend so much of ___________ hard-earned money for medical care.

5. The two brothers quarrel all the time about the money which takes up most of the action of the story.

6. A student who reads this book will find __________ feelings outraged.

7. The US military recently killed some Canadian soldiers. This really upset many people in Canada.

8. Maggie is the person (who/whom) Brick thinks has destroyed the happiness in his life.

9. Anyone might get into trouble if _________ is not careful. People need to be more attentive to ________ belongings. This is a cause of all sorts of vacation misery.

10. A person needs to consider all ______________ options before deciding on _______ career. High-school students in general are too quick to select ___________ future careers.

11. (Who/Whom) do you think is guilty?

12. The reader may find _____-self really puzzled by the behaviour of the main character here, which the author is clearly intending to produce.


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