Writing Multiple-Choice Questions
Subject/Verb Agreement

Trojans is doomed.

Hector are violent.

It’s easy to see what’s wrong with these sentences: the subjects (Trojans and Hector) do not match their verbs (is and are, respectively). Trojans are plural but is is singular; Hector is singular, but are is plural. Subjects and verbs must match or “agree.”
The SAT will test this by sticking a long phrase or clause between the subject and the verb, like so:

The importation of predator species, which stems from a laudable desire to break with the usual chemical methods of pest control, almost always lead to ecological imbalance.

See the error? If not, get rid of the intervening clause:

The importation of predator species almost always lead to ecological imbalance.

Can you see it now? If you still can’t see it, isolate the subject and verb:
 The importation of predator species  almost always  lead 
 Subject Verb 
to ecological imbalance.
 
Predator species is not the subject—the importation of predator species is. Importation is singular; lead is the plural form of the verb. The singular form of the verb must match the singular subject.

Hector leads the Trojans.

The Trojans lead all Anatolian city-states.

The correct version is as follows:

The importation of predator species, which stems from a laudable desire to break with the usual chemical methods of pest control, almost always leads to ecological imbalance.

Is the following sentence correct?

Inside the wooden horse is Achilles and Odysseus.

Tricky! The subject is hidden here—it’s not the wooden horse. What if you flipped the sentence around so the subject, which we’re accustomed to seeing at the beginning of a sentence, comes first:

Achilles and Odysseus is inside the wooden horse.

The is sticks out more when the sentence is rewritten this way; it should be are. Achilles and Odysseus is a compound subject; compound subjects take plural verbs. Only the word and can create a compound subject. As well as, or, and along with do not create compound subjects.

Bill and Ted are excellent adventurers.

Bill, as well as Ted, is an excellent adventurer.

Bill, along with Ted, is an excellent adventurer.

Bill or Ted is an excellent adventurer.

What, if anything, is wrong with the following sentence?

Neither of those two airhead adventurers are bright.

The problem is that neither, either, and none take singular, not plural, verbs. The correction is:

Neither of those two airhead adventurers is bright.

Finally, watch out for nouns that seem plural but are actually singular, such as:

The series of lectures was very interesting.

The team was ready for the big game.

The couple finds happiness in each other.

Series, team, and couple are singular nouns that refer to groups. Group, actually, is another good example. By definition, a group has more than one member, but a group itself is singular: one group; many groups.
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