Subject Verb Agreement


I am confused with this sentence, finding its subject and the verb that corresponds to it. 


Which sentence is correct?


"The pains that a woman feel" or "The pains that a woman feels"


 *Can the word "pains" be the subject of this sentence? or Should it be the word "woman"?

asked Jul 02 '13 at 15:55 Ernest Estrella New member

3 answers


The one who is doing the "feeling" in your example is "a woman." Since it's singular, it takes the singular form of the verb: "The pains that a woman feels."


To answer your other question, you don't have a complete sentence yet -- all you've got is the subject ("The pains that a woman feels"). To make your sentence complete, you need a predicate. For instance: "The pains that a woman feels can be greatly reduced by some Advil and a good nap."


Hope that helps!

link comment answered Jul 02 '13 at 16:34 Actually Holly Expert

The reason you can't find the verb corresponding to the subject (the pains) is because there isn't one!  In fact, it's not a sentence, just a phrase:  "that a woman feels" modifies "pains".   To complete the sentence, you would need something like "....are beyond description".  I hope that helps.

link comment answered Jul 02 '13 at 16:27 Michael Cranfield Expert

I agree with most of the responses. This is a noun clause - the whole clause needs a predicate to be complete, as suggested by others. Who is doing the feeling? The woman is, so you need agreement with the third person singular verb. Interestingly, this noun clause can be replaced with the pronoun 'they' (plural) - this means that this noun clause is a plural, and hence it needs to agree with a third person plural verb: are, make, etc.

link comment answered Jul 03 '13 at 03:28 Ahmad Barnard Expert

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