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Agreeing to Disagree: The Scarier Side of Subject Verb Agreement

A new way of defining and explaining the concept of subject verb agreement
by

James May

on 17 June 2016

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Transcript of Agreeing to Disagree: The Scarier Side of Subject Verb Agreement

Think with a pen!
What is subject verb agreement?
You have 30 seconds to write down your best definition for Subject Verb Agreement.
If you don't know, write "IDK,"
although I would prefer "IWK."
Agreeing to Disagree
The Scarier Side of Subject Verb Agreement
If it is true that singular subjects get singular verbs, why do "I" and "you (both singular subjects) not agree with singular verbs?
I lives?
Problems Continued
You lives?
In any sentence in the present tense of English, including all of the present tense aspects (perfect, progressive, and perfect progressive), verbs are inflected or marked to show agreement in number; For example, if a subject is third person singular, the verb is marked to show that it agrees with the singular subject by adding the “s” sound to the verb, spelling, of course, may vary as English is a morphophonemic language not a phonetic language. If the subject is anything other than third person singular, for the most part, the verb remains uninflected or unmarked. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. For example, consider the use of the copular verb “To Be.”
The Real
Definition
(ly Confusing)
Definition
The Real
In any sentence in the present tense of English, including all of the present tense aspects (perfect, progressive, and perfect progressive), verbs are inflected or marked to show agreement in number; For example, if a subject is third person singular, the verb is marked to show that it agrees with the singular subject by adding the “s” sound to the verb, spelling, of course, may vary as English is a morphophonemic language not a phonetic language. If the subject is anything other than third person singular, for the most part, the verb remains uninflected or unmarked. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. For example, consider the use of the copular verb “To Be.”
The he, she, & it gang
Take a look at the following verbs
I live
You live
He lives
She lives
It lives
We live
You live
They live
Everyone need/needs to turn in their/his or her homework.

Either the students or the teacher is/are bringing their/his or her computer(s).
Extended Benefits of Learning
the He, She, & It Gang Rules...
Junk between the subject and verb
Compound subjects (The Rule of Proximity)
Indefinite Pronouns
Flip-Flopped Sentence Order
Weird Words
Is it really that easy?
I live
You live
He lives
She lives
It lives
We live
You live
They live
s
Todd, a friend of ours, (live/lives) in Georgia.
Testing a Theory...
In any sentence of English using the present tense, if a subject is a HE, SHE, or IT (or anything that can be a HE, SHE, or IT), the verb will have an S tattoo.
Subject Verb Agreement Redefined...
Problems Continued
Does the system of adding "s" to make a verb singular work in the past or future tenses?
Liveds
Danceds
Jumpeds
Will lives
Will Dances
Will Jumpes
Most People Say...
The Guide to Grammar and Writing CCC Foundation
The Basic Principle: Singular subjects need singular verbs; plural subjects need plural verbs.
Grammarbook.com
The basic rule states that a singular subject takes a singular verb, while a plural subject takes a plural verb.
Margaret L. Benner at Towson.edu
Simply put, subjects and verbs must AGREE with one another in number (singular or plural). Thus, if a subject is singular, its verb must also be singular; if a subject is plural, its verb must also be plural.
Plural
Live
Dance
Jump
Can verbs really be singular or plural?
If so, how do you make a verb singular or plural?
Problems with the definition
Lives
Dances
Jumps
Singular
The students in this class (is/are) ready for the test.
The student holding the pencils (write/writes) beautifully.
Toondoo
Wordle
Camtasia
Prezi
Google Docs
Youtube
Softchalk
TinyURL
TeacherTricks.org
She (study/studies) more than the other students.
Grammar Fact of the Day...
In Earlier forms of English, agreement existed in the “you” subjects for all verbs in the present tense, as well as in the past tense of some common verbs. Endings on the verb were usually in the form -est, but -st and -t also occurred.
You will
You shall
You are
You have
You can
Thou wilt
Thou shalt
Thou art
Thou hast
Thou canst
In today's language
In early English
Next semester while taking Comp 1, you have a teacher who has a real Grammattitude (Grammar Attitude). One of your best friends is taking the class with you, but he/she didn’t take EAP 1640 with you, so he/she feels lost with respect to many of the grammar questions. A test is coming soon and he/she comes to you and asks you for help understanding the following question. What answer do you give? How do you explain it? How do you help your friend to learn the rules in time for the test? Read the question below and then post your answer in the discussion “Advising a friend.” Remember you will be graded using the rubric below.

The Question:

Each of the students (need/needs) to be on time.
Sample Assessment
Correct Answer 1pt Explain Why? 4pts
il étudie
Vous étudiez
ils étudient
yo estudio
tu estudias
ellos estudian
I study
you study
They study
Full transcript