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 verb in a sentence.

 

If the subject has two or more nouns, it takes a plural verb

  • Dick, Tom and Harry are triplets.
  • He, his dog and I are best friends.
 

When two or more nouns are joined by ‘and’ to form a subject, the verb is in the plural form

  • Forks and spoons have always been together during dinnertime.
  • The grandfather, the father and the son all have beard.
 

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

  • His father or mother is a professor of insects.
  • 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

  • The clock or the watch or both are not accurate; they tell different times.
  • His killers or killer is still at large.