Subject-verb agreement

In English, the verb must agree with its subject, so a singular subject will have a singular verb and a plural subject, a plural verb. For example:

The study investigates the impact of after-school clubs on behaviour.

The results indicate that the behaviour of children attending after-school clubs is significantly better than that of children who have no access to this type of provision.

This seems straightforward, but it is easy to make mistakes when the subject is more complex than in these examples. A student wrote:

The integration of the telecommunication systems were successful.

In this example, the verb ‘were’ is plural. This is incorrect because the verb should agree with the head noun ‘integration’, which is singular. If we ask ‘What was successful?’, the answer would be ‘the integration of the telecommunications systems’, not just ‘the systems’ or ‘the telecommunications  systems’. This shows that the verb must agree with the noun ‘integration’. The correct sentence is therefore:

The integration of the telecommunication systems was successful.

It is unlikely that the grammar check in your computer will detect this type of error, so it is important to be alert and make any necessary corrections before submission.