When two nouns refer to the same person or thing, the verb is in the singular form. 


  • My uncle and handyman is very skilled at repairing things.
  • Not: My uncle and handyman are very skilled at repairing things.

    (My uncle and handyman are the same person.) 

  • The owner and manager of the store is very friendly.
  • Not: The owner and manager of the store are very friendly.

  • My neighbour and friend has been a magician for many years.
  • Not: My neighbour and friend have been a magician for many years. 



When two nouns are so commonly used together that they are treated as a single item, the verb that follows is singular.  


  • Bread and butter is my daily breakfast.

    Not: Bread and butter are my daily breakfast.


  • Fish and chips was my favourite meal when I was in England.
  • Milk and fruit has been known to be a good diet.
  • Time and tide waits for no man. 



When two nouns refer to the same person, the article ‘the’ is used only once and the verb is in the singular. When two nouns refer to two different persons, the article ‘the’ is repeated and the verb is in the plural.



  • The nurse and sister of the patient cares deeply for him.

    (Nurse and sister are the same person as no the is used again, so singular verb cares is used..)

    Not: The nurse and sister of the patient care deeply for him. 

  • The nurse and the sister of the patient were very caring.

  • The owner and the occupant of the red-brick house were cellmates. 

  • The teacher and the father of the student are arguing about him.  



An amount regardless of how much it is, and measurements of weight and distance are followed by a singular verb.



  • The fifty dollars you lent me was not enough. 

  • Two hundred dollars nowadays is not a big sum.

  • How many cents is equal to ten dollars?


  • She said seventy kilograms was her weight.

  • Five kilograms of flour is enough for baking the cakes.

  • Two litres of oil was used to fry those things.

  • Ten kilometres is a long distance to walk.


  • According to the survey, 54% of the people are going to vote for him.  

    (People is a plural noun and 54% of the people must therefore take a plural verb.) 

  • Only fifteen percent of the building was damaged in the fire.

    (Building is a singular noun and 15% of it is therefore singular and has to take a singular verb.)