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Sentence Correction: Subject Verb Agreement Questions - Overview

What is the subject of the following correct sentence?

Under the bed are five socks.

Very good!

You can see that the plural verb are agrees in number with the plural subject five socks, and that this is one of the rare sentences in which the verb precedes (=appears before) the subject


The subject and the verb must agree in number, and this sentence is grammatically correct. The bed is singular whereas the verb are is plural. Therefore, the bed cannot not the subject of the sentence.


In 5% of the cases, the subject is not what appears BEFORE the verb, but rather appears AFTER the verb. This is one of these rare cases. How can we identify the subject in these cases? We know that the subjectand the verb must agree in number. The verb are is plural. Therefore, the subject must also be plural. The only plural noun in the sentence is five socks. Therefore, five socks is the subject of the sentence.

Also, note that Under the bed is a complete phrase beginning with a preposition (under), and such a prepositional phrase can never be a subject.

the bed
five socks
under the bed