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Subject & Verb Agreement
Transcript of Subject & Verb Agreement
When writing it is important to maintain agreement. Subjects and verbs must agree regarding two main points: 1) Person 2) Number
Person refers to the first person (I, we), second person (you) or third person (he, she, it, they) form.
Number refers to whether a word is singular or plural.
S-V Agreement: Number
Singular subjects have singular verbs; plural subjects have plural verbs.
Plural subjects, in general, end in -s or -es.
You always want to match the verb to the subject in number.
, are) learning about subject-verb agreement.
) learning about subject-verb agreement.
These straightforward sentence constructions make subject-verb agreement easy to find.
However, sentences are not always straightforward.
Many times a subject and verb are separated by a prepositional phrase. Ignore or cut out the prepositional phrase to help match the subject and verb.
behind the counter
) to joke with their customers.
Ex: A serving
of nonfat chips
, contain) 440 calories.
Indefinite Pronouns 1
Indefinite pronouns generally refer to pronouns that don't definitively refer to another noun (even though sometimes they do).
As subjects, most indefinite pronouns are singular (another, anybody, anyone, anything, everybody, everyone, everything, nobody, nothing, somebody, something, etc.).
This is true for the above list even if the word means more than one person or thing: everybody, everyone, everything.
, are) nervous the first day of school.
Indefinite Pronouns 2
The following indefinite plural pronouns obviously have plural verbs:
both, few, many, others, several
) nervous the first day of school.
Ex: Some people look to religious leaders for life guidance;
, looks) to the stars.
, wants) to drop the class.
Indefinite Pronouns 3
Five indefinite pronouns can require
a singular or plural verb. They are:
all, any, most, none, some.
For these special indefinite pronouns, one must look at the object of the preposition to determine whether to use a singular or plural verb
, are) gone.
, are) done at home.
Compound Subjects 1
Subjects joined by the word
generally require a plural verb.
) confused by all this agreement nonsense.
However, if the subjects are generally considered one item, then a singular plural is required.
, are) the best breakfast food ever.
Compound Subjects 2
Singular subjects joined by the words
require a singular verb, but plural subjects joined by the words
require a plural verb.
, are) available for help with enrollment.
Pretzels or hotdogs
) available from the grandstand.
subjects must be plural or singular for this rule to work (with nor/or). If one subject is singular and the other is plural, match the subject closest to the verb for agreement.
Ex: My sister or my
) joining me.
Singular or Plural? 1
Many subjects can be singular or plural depending on whether the subject is considered one unit or group (singular), or separate individual parts (plural).
, are) vacationing in Destin, FL.
(one unit = singular)
) cleared of charges, including murder 1.
(cleared individually = plural)
Singular or Plural? 2
When a subject expresses an amount, like measurements or quantities, as a single group or item, use a singular verb.
to see this movie (
, are) pure robbery.
of the group (
, have) moved on.
Singular or Plural? 3
Certain nouns may appear plural, but they name a person, place, or thing and are singular in number.
, are) a game that Mr. Olson will use to hustle you.
) for freedom of speech as right to each citizen.