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 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

Examples:

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

 

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

Examples:

  • To dive and to swim are my hobbies.
  • To own and to manage a hotel involve a lot of money.

 

Subjects can be gerunds. (Gerund is a word that is derived from a verb but functions as a noun and ends in –ing). 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.