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Subject-Verb Agreement and Consistency

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on 13 June 2015

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Transcript of Subject-Verb Agreement and Consistency

All nouns and pronouns have numbers. They are singular in number if they refer to one thing. They are plural in number if they refer to more than one thing.
Verb Tense Consistency


There are three main verb forms for showing time or tense:

Simple Tense

does not use auxiliary verbs


refers to specific time period during which

something happens
OR
something happened and is over
OR
something will happen


Simple present (action goes on now): I sit

Simple past: (action happened and is over): I sat

Simple future (action will happen): I will sit






When a word refers to one person or thing, it is singular in number. When a word refers to more than one, it is plural in number.

There are a few exceptions to the subject verb agreement rules. For example:

Anyone, everyone, someone, no one, and nobody always require singular verbs.
Neither and either require singular verbs even though they seem to be referring to two separate things.
Sums of money or periods of time require a singular verb.
When a sentence compounds a positive and a negative subject and only one is plural, the verb should agree with the positive subject.
Words that indicate portions of a whole, such as percent, fraction, some, all, none, and remainder require a singular verb only if the object of the preposition is singular.
Who, that, and which are singular or plural according to the noun directly in front of them.
Typically, you should use a plural verb with two or more subjects when they are connected by and.
There and here are never considered to be subjects. In sentences beginning with here or there, the subject follows the verb.
As well as and along with do not function the same as and. The phrase introduced by as well as or along with modifies the earlier word, but does not compound the subjects.
If a sentence includes modifiers between the subject and verb, this does not affect whether the verb is singular or plural.
Just because a word ends in –s does not automatically make it plural. Consider the word is as an example of this rule.
A collective noun such as team or staff can be either singular or plural depending upon the rest of the sentence.
Subject-Verb Agreement and Consistency
Thank you!
Examples:
hat, I, sky, principle (singular)
hats, we, skies, principles (plural)
A verb agrees with its subject in number.
Two words agree when they have the same number. The number of the verb must always agree with the number of its subject.

I. Singular subjects take singular verbs.

II. Plural subjects take plural verbs.
Examples:
Linda begins her vacation today.
(The verb begins is singular to agree with the singular subject Linda.)

New families move into our neighborhood frequently.
(The verb move is plural to agree with the plural subject families.)

I. (A) Cross out all prepositional phrases.
Examples: Every one of the students try/tries hard.

(B) Cross out word groups within commas.
Examples: The doctor, as well as the nurses, work/works hard.

(C) Cross out word groups beginning with either...or and neither..nor.
Examples: Either the vase or the dish was/were a gift.


II. Find the subject: (Remember, the subject cannot be one or the words that you crossed out in number I.)


Hints for subject-verb agreement

III. Select the verb:
(A) If the subject is singular, choose the verb ending in “s.”
Examples: Every one of the students try/tries hard.

(B) If the subject is plural, choose the verb ending without the “s.”
Examples: The windows in the house stick/sticks easily.

(C) If two subjects are joined by or or by nor, the verb usually agrees with the nearer subject.
Either the vase or the dish was/were a gift.
Exceptions to the Rules
Perfect Tense

uses have, has, or had as auxiliary verb

allows action to continue over time

Present perfect (action happened and may still be going on): I have sat

Past perfect (action happened before something happened in the past): I had sat

Future perfect (action will be considered in the future, by which time it will have already happened): I will have sat



Progressive Tense

uses is, are, was, or were as auxiliary verb with -ing ending on main verb

focuses on “progress” of action

Present progressive (action is in progress right now): I am sitting

Past: progressive (action was in progress in the past): I was sitting

Future progressive (action will be in progress in the future): I will be sitting



Each of the above tenses denotes a specific time for an action or event to take place. Writers should be careful to use the exact tense needed to describe, narrate, or explain.
In general . . .

Do not switch from one tense to another unless the timing of an action demands that you do.

Keep verb tense consistent in sentences, paragraphs, and essays.


Verb tense consistency on the sentence level

Keep tenses consistent within sentences.

Do not change tenses when there is no time change for the action.
Write
1. Write about an event that happened to you last year in at least one paragraph.

2. Write about an event that happened to you today in at least one paragraph.

3. Write about an event you hope will happen in the future in at least one paragraph.
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