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Sentence Correction: Subject Verb Agreement Questions - Overview

What is the subject of the following sentence?

A team of interdisciplinary scientists is working on a top secret project.

While A team is part of the subject, it's not all of it.

In this sentence, as in 95% of GMAT sentences, the subject is what comes before the first verb, except what is separated from the verb by a comma. There is no comma in the sentence, so the subject is everything that appears before the verb.

While interdisciplinary scientists is part of the subject, it's not all of it.

We know that the subject and the verb must agree in number. The verb is is singular. Therefore, the subject must also be singular. Interdisciplinary scientists is plural.

Good!

In this sentence, as in 95% of GMAT sentences, the subject comes BEFORE the first verb.A top secret project comes AFTER the verb.

How do we know this sentence is not one of the 5% in which the order is reversed? Try changing what you think is the subject - a top secret project - to plural:

A team of interdisciplinary scientists is working on top secret projects.

The sentence is OK, but it shouldn't be! The subject and the verb should agree in number. Therefore, if the plural top secret projects were the subject, the verb should have been plural too - are.

So this is not one of the rare occasions in which the verb comes before the subject. This is one of the 95% in which the subject comes before the verb.

A team
interdisciplinary scientists
A team of interdisciplinary scientists