A compound subject consists of two or more nouns (Adam and Eve, cowboy and cowgirl), pronouns (your and I, he and she), or noun phrases (a basket of rotten eggs, a layer of dirt). Together, they form the subject of a sentence.

 

Two or more subjects or nouns that are combined to form a compound subject take a plural verb.  

Examples:

  • Forks and spoons have 

    always been together during dinnertime.

     

  • Peter and Paul were two black birds.
  • Dick, Tom and Harry are triplets.

     

  • He, his dog and I are best friends.
  • The grandfather, the father and the son all have beards.

 

 

If the nouns that make up a compound subject are joined by or and both are singular, a singular verb is used.

Examples:

  • His father or mother is a professor of insecticides.
  • Chicken soup or duck soup makes no difference to me because I like all soups.

 

 

If the nouns that make up a compound subject are singular and plural, the verb agrees with the noun nearer to it.

Examples:

  • His killers or killer is still at large.
  • A big box or smaller boxes do not matter to him for the storage.
  • The clock or the watch or both are not accurate; they tell different times.

 

 

Subjects can be infinitives. (An infinitive begins with to followed by the simple form of the verb.) Two infinitives joined by or or and to form a subject take the singular or plural form of the verb.

Examples:

  • To own 

    or

     to manage 

    a livesock farm involves a lot of work.

     

  • To dive

     and to swim are 

    my hobbies.

 

 

Subjects can be gerunds(Gerund is derived from a verb that ends in –ing but functions as a noun). One gerund takes a singular verb. When two gerunds are joined by the conjunction and, the verb that follows is plural. 

Examples:

  • Cycling is an enjoyable pastime.

     

  • Walking and jogging have always been my favourite forms of exercises.