Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hi. Welcome to engVid. I'm Adam. In today's video we're going to look at the "Compound Subject". So this is a grammar lesson, and it doesn't matter if you're a beginner or advanced, it's very important to understand this because it's very easy to make mistakes, especially in writing. So, we're going to start by looking at the subject. What is a subject? Just to refresh our memories. The subject is the thing in the sentence or in the clause that is going to do the action or is going to be in the situation of the "be" verb, if it's not an action verb. Right? So... And we always have to make sure that our subject and our verb agree. They must agree, especially in terms of number. If you have a singular subject, you must have a singular verb. Right? So let's look at this example: "The doctor is off this week." Right? So when we're talking about the doctor, there's one doctor, his or her situation is that he or she is off this week. They're on vacation. Right? So we have a singular verb. Now, we're going to look at compounds in terms of taking two pieces and making one subject out of this... Out of the two individual pieces. We're going to look at "and" and we're going to look at "or", "either", "or", "neither", "nor". Okay? But we're going to look at "or" after, we're going to start with "and". First thing you need to remember about "and", it works like a plus sign. One plus one equals two. So, when you take two individual subjects and you join them together, you're creating a two-or-more situation, or a two-or-more subject, therefore you have a plural subject. Right? So: "The doctor and the nurse are off", so plural, whereas you had singular. Now, it doesn't matter if you have plural pieces. "The doctor and the nurse are", "The doctors and the nurse are", "The doctors and the nurses are", any combination because you're joining them into a group and now they are plural and you have a matching verb. Now, it's very important to remember that we're talking about compounds and we're using a compound conjunction, but if you use: "The doctors"... Well, let's just say "doctor", no "s". "The doctor as well as the nurses are off this week", would this be correct? No, it would not because you're not making a compound. This is an extra. Okay? "The doctor", but if you had: "The doctors as well as the nurses are off this week", that is correct because then you would still have a plural to a plural. Singular, with "as well as", singular. Plural with "as well as", plural. Now: "as well as", "along with", "together with", "accompanied by", all of these expressions are not compound conjunctions. So we only have a compound subject when we have a compound conjunction joining them. Okay? But there are situations where you're going to have a compound, but you still have a singular subject. "Spaghetti and meatballs is delicious", not "are". Why is this singular? Because this is a grouped thing, they always go together. Spaghetti and meatballs is one idea. Even though you're joining them, they are basically one item. "Peanut butter and jelly is my favourite snack", or "Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are my favourite snack", but then you're using it as an adjective. If it's one piece, if it's a collective, then it's singular. If it's two separate items, then you're making a compound and then you have a plural. Look at this one: "The founder and CEO of the company is ready to sell", "The founder and CEO of the company are ready to sell". Now, which of these is correct? Well, both can be correct. You can have one person who is both the founder of the company and the CEO of the company. So if this and this refer to the same person, then it's a singular subject and you're using "is". If the founder and the CEO are two different people, then you're creating a compound, you have a plural, and then you have "are" as correct. So it's very important to understand what the two pieces on either side of "and" are doing. Are they two separate things, or are they one combined thing? And then you'll know which... If it's a plural or a singular subject. I'm going to give you some more examples after so you'll get an idea, but first let's look at "or". Okay, let's look at the compound conjunction: "or". "Or", "nor". Okay? "Neither Tom nor his sister likes to cook", "Neither Tom nor his sisters like to cook". Okay? Basically what you have to remember about "or" or "nor" is that the verb will agree with the last part of the compound. So, if the second part is singular, the verb will match singular. If the second noun is plural, the verb will match plural. So: "sisters like", "sister likes", same with "or". So here's a situation... Oh, I forgot an "r" here. "Either Jill or Kevin needs to be let go." So, I'm a company, I need to make some cuts in the budget, I need to fire one of these people because they're too expensive. Their salary is too high. So: "Either Jill or Kevin needs to be let go." Singular or singular, "needs". "Either Jill or the marketing team needs to go." Now, "team" is a singular. Although there's a lot of... There are a lot of people in the team, the team, the whole collective needs to be let go because they... All of them make as much money as she does. "Either Jill or three junior managers need to be let go", so now I have a plural here, and therefore I have a plural verb to agree with it. So always go with the last or the second noun in the compound subjects when you have "or" or "nor". "And", as soon as you're joining two separate things, you have a plural. "Or" depends on the second noun of the compound. Okay? You're going to understand this a little bit more with some more examples, so let's get to those. Okay, I want to mention a few other things about the compound subjects before we go, and I'm going to look at some more examples. First of all: "Bill and I are going to see a movie." Bill's one person, I'm another, together we are two. Now, if you're not sure about the compound, if you're not sure if it's separate things or if it's one thing, try to replace it with a pronoun. So if I say: "Bill and I", I can replace this with "we". So as soon as you have the "we" pronoun you understand you need the "are", not the "is". So always try to replace your compound with a pronoun. If you can't, it means it's probably one thing. Right? It's probably "it". So I'm going to look at another example. Now: "I and Bill are going to see a movie." Technically this is correct, but people don't usually put the "I" first, they put the "Bill" first. "Bill and I are going to see", and you'll rarely hear: "I and Bill". Why? I'm not exactly sure. They're both correct, but common usage is to put the "I" second. On the other hand: "Bill and she are going to see a movie", "She and Bill are going to see a movie". More common: "She" first", "Bill" second. But, again, both are correct, you can use either one at your leisure. "I" generally second in most cases. Now, let's look at this sentence: "Heather's mother-in-law and dad are spending time together." Okay? "Heather's mother-in-law", one person, "dad", second person, together they make two, they are spending. Now: "Heather's mother-in-law and dad", you must understand that "dad" is Heather's dad, not the mother-in-law's dad. If I said: "Heather's mother-in-law and her dad", then it becomes a little bit confusing, because whose dad? Because there are two women here. Right? If ever you are not sure when you're putting the two items of a subject together, rearrange it to make it more clear. "Heather's dad and mother-in-law are going". It's very clear that the dad is Heather's, not the mother-in-law's. Okay? Just to keep that in mind in terms of positioning the compounds. "Winning and losing is a mindset." Winning and losing are one thing. When you're playing sports or whatever, winning and losing is part of the game. They're not two separate things. But wins or losses, these are countable things. You can actually count wins, you can count losses, therefore they are two separate things. So sometimes the connections are not very clear. If they're not very clear, change the sentence around. Right? "It is a mindset whether you win or lose." Right? And then it's a whole different sentence, there's no confusion, and it's one thing. "Mindset" is the subject, instead of the other two. Here it's very clear, so you can leave it alone: "Wins or losses do not", not "does not" because I have plural, plural, and a second one is plural. "10 successes or 1 failure amount to the same thing".