The verb in an adjective clause must agree with the number of the noun it modifies.
What does that mean?
The egg that is in the picture is in an egg cup.
The subject of the adjective clause = the egg, is singular. A singular subject (egg) needs a singular verb (is).
The eggs that are in the picture are in the carton.
The subject of the adjective clause = the eggs, which are plural. A plural subject (eggs) needs a plural verb (are).
The chocolate that is on the table is for baking.
The subject of the adjective clause = chocolate, which is non-count. A non-count subject (chocolate) needs a singular verb (is).
The chocolates that are on the plate were given to me by my friend.
The subject of the adjective clause (that) = chocolates (pieces of chocolate), which is plural. A plural subject (chocolates) needs a plural verb (are).
NOTE: The above examples used the “be verb” in the adjective clause. The same rule is true for any verb.
My friend that drives to school every day often get stuck in traffic jams.
The subject of the adjective clause (that) = my friend, which is singular. A singular subject (friend) needs a singular verb (drives).
My friends that drive to school every day often get stuck in traffic jams.
The subject of the adjective clause (that) = my friends, which is plural. A plural subject (friends) needs a plural verb (drive).
Practice: Complete each adjective clause with a singular or plural verb. Possible answers below.
- A horse is an animal that _______________________________________.
- Students are people who _______________________________________.
- I have a friend who ___________________________________________.
- He loves video games that _____________________________________.
- She can’t relax in places that ____________________________________.
- Yesterday, we took a test that ___________________________________.
- Do you like musicians that ______________________________________?
- Homework that _____________________________________ is boring.
- (singular) eats grass / has four legs
- (plural) take tests / use books / don’t earn money
- (singular) sings well / is rich / doesn’t like onions
- (plural) have a lot of fighting / are from Japan / are PVP
- (plural) are noisy / have a lot of people / aren’t green
- (singular) was hard / had many questions / was s dictation
- (plural) play electric music / sing while they play / are female
- (non-count) takes too much time / is just copying / involves reading