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Subject-Verb Agreement

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Bethany Hung

on 2 June 2014

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Transcript of Subject-Verb Agreement

Subject-Verb Agreement
Bethany Hung, Kevin Lau, Samantha Lin, Catherine Wang
Period 4
Compound Subjects
Contractions
Indefinite Pronouns
"there is" vs "there are"
...Where'd the Subject Go?
in which we lose the subject
Collective Nouns
Examples from
Charles Dickens & Jane Austen
« don't »
you & I
A wild surprise quiz has appeared!

Subject-verb agreement is, in general, one of the more straightforward topics in English grammar. However, it can get a bit tricky.

(Alright, so maybe it's not that tricky, but we tried.)
A Slightly Sneaky Pre-Quiz
1. Your politics
(is/are)
clearly more liberal than his.
2. A series of western blots
(was/were)
performed to assay protein expression.
3. The series of western analyses
(was/were)
found to be inconclusive.
4. For each patient, 10 mL of blood
(was/were)
collected in a clot tube.
Answers:
1. are
2. were
3. was
4. was
When a subject contains
two or more
nouns or pronouns connected by
and
or
or
, it is a
compound subject
.
Rules for Compound Subjects
1. Connected by
and
: Always use a
plural
verb.
Example: Must we really restate that
grammar

and

compound subjects

are
fabulous?
2.
Or
or
nor
with two
singular
nouns: use a
singular
verb.

Example:
Subject-verb agreement

or

countable nouns practice

brings
joy to my life. ("Why not both?" we ask.)
Exhibit 2:
nouns connected by
or
or
nor
3.
Or
or
nor
with
both
a singular and a plural noun:
verb agrees with the closest subject noun
.

Neither

subject-verb agreement
nor
countable nouns
make
me as happy as sentence diagramming does.

Neither

countable nouns
nor
subject-verb agreement
makes
me as happy as sentence diagramming does.
Compound subjects
and
grammar are fabulous.
But wait! There's
another
option!
There
are
no notable
exceptions
.
This is merely a deceptive box.
Exceptions
Collective nouns are count nouns that describe a
group
of individuals. In fact, one just showed up in the previous sentence.
Collective nouns are singular, but unfortunately, there are a few exceptions.
used only with a plural subject
Exceptions
Use "don't" when using:
-1st-person POV noun "
I
"
-2nd-person POV noun "
you
"
A Basic Introduction
As you just saw, subject-verb agreement is actually quite tricky.

No fear though, I'll take you through this. Ezpz.
hello
Some Basic Rules:
-
Singular
subject,
singular
verb!
-Verb will agree to the part of the subject
closest
to it
-For many standard verbs/nouns, a good rule to remember is "
S
ingular nouns have verbs with an -
S
"
Nonstandard example:
We

are
in his brain right now.
Note:
"People" is not a collective noun. However, it is a non-standard plural, so we'll give you this example anyways.
In most cases, though, collective nouns are indeed SINGULAR (if there's one unit of the noun).

Why? This is because the group of nouns is being referred to as a collective whole.
Example:
"The
flock
of Kevins
is
really starting to scare me."
"Why? I think the
flocks

are
great."
My name is Kevin.
I'll be your guide to the exciting world of subject-verb agreement!
"Crew" is an exception.

For example:
The crew
is
singing "Friday" far too loudly.
The crew
are
singing "Friday" far too loudly.

Both sentences are correct.
Everyone loves Bloo.
‹from "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends"›
More Collective Nouns, because they're fun
A
horde
of Jethroes
lives
in San Francisco.

A
clowder
of cats
drinks
clam chowder rather quickly.

Pomposities
of professors
understress
the importance of countable nouns.
Example:
If the
vial
of chlorine gas
doesn't
kill him, then my vat of NaOH will.
Example:
If the
vats
of
N
aOH
don't
kill him, then
we
will worship him as the next immortal demigod.
"But...there's nothing tricky about it! Singular with singular and plural with plural! How do people even make mistakes here? How is this even worthy of a grammar project?"
As it turns out, "the easiest grammar project topic" can indeed be quite tricky.
us
« doesn't »
used only with a singular subject
The rules for contractions are simple. When in doubt, just expand them out; for example, don't becomes do not.

If Singular subject, verb has -S! rule still applies.

There are exceptions, though.
Gerunds
Gerunds are nouns derived from verbs; they end in -ing.

They are singular.
Hiding is a fun activity.
Again, here's Bloo.
"Doing stuff is so twelve hours ago."
Subjects, verbs, and now
SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT?
Hey, we only agreed on the verbjects and the subs part.
A Day in the Life of
Patrick Star

We should take grammar...
and push it somewhere else!

No one need this stuff, anyways.
I has a great idea!
No, Patrick Star, that's not right.
How many lessons do I have to give you?
Yesterday, I taught you what subjects and verbs were. I guess it's time for
subject-verb agreement
.
It looks like you haven't gotten subjects and verbs down yet, either.
It's alright, little starfish. I'll help you.
Verb-subject agreement are- is so easy!

I UNDERSTAND IT NOW!
See what I mean?

A job well done.
Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
Oh, just kidding.
We're not quite finished.

Do you feel the love yet? If not, you will.
When sentences begin with
"there is"
or
"there are"
, the verb agrees with what follows.
Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for
it is/they are
rain upon the blinding dust of earth.
[ 1 ]
How quick
comes/come
the reasons for approving what we like!
[ 3 ]
The habit of paying compliments
keeps/keep
a man's tongue oiled without any expense.
[ 2 ]
All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope
is/are
gone!
[ 4 ]
These sentences may seem gnarly, but they're quite simple in terms of subject-verb agreement when you cut it down.

Can you identify the correct verb?

(Shakespeare's worse.)
You're horrible, Kevin.
Examples
There's Cocoa Puffs in the china drawer.
[ there
is
Cocoa Puff
s
]
INCORRECT
There
's

china
in the Cocoa Puffs box.
CORRECT
Note: "There're" is usually used only to express personality through a character's dialogue.
"There
are
very many
Asians
at this school!"
-a new student from Kennedy High that talked to Bethany
I don't
think that you're well-suited for this job, Kevin.
You

don't
think I'm well-suited? Look at your sassy shoulders!
Indefinite pronouns are pronouns that do not refer to any person, place, or thing in particular.
Indefinite pronouns can be singular, plural, or singular OR plural (i.e. dependent on the antecedent).
exclusively
singular
exclusively
plural
singular
OR
plural
dependent on the antecedent
None
of the
cupcakes contain
cyanide.
Some
of the
ice cream contains
arsenic.
These pronouns can only be singular.
Combining Concepts
You
are
a fabulous human being, but neither you nor
I

are
as fabulous as
Princess Bubblegum.
-Aibileen,
The Help
INCORRECT
Correct
: "You
are
kind. You
are
smart. You
are
important."
More Examples
"You" and "I" are always plural.
You

look
like
you
're

starting to think that all of these Kevins are a little bit weird.
I like to think that I'm good at employing irony.
Sometimes, the subject, stuck before very long comma phrases, hopelessly drowned in lengthy series of lush adjectives that only serve to visually enhance the text by adding to its length, is separated from the predicate by a very long distance.
Sometimes, the subject, stuck before very long comma phrases, hopelessly drowned in lengthy series of lush adjectives that only serve to visually enhance the text by adding to its length, is separated from the predicate by a very long distance.
Kevin's Protip:
Just remove all of that superfluous stuff. Ezpz!
HELLO THIS IS OUR GRAMMAR PROJECT
A Long-Due Explanation
The series
of western analyses
was
found to be inconclusive.
A series
of western blots
were
performed to assay protein expression.
"
a
" = use
plural
verb because less specific, so refers to the items (plural) summed up by the preceding word (e.g. "western blots" vs "series")
"
the
" = use
singular
verb, because more specific and points to a more certain individual or individual group members (one of them)
Summary
(The EZPZ Quiz)
1. Her pet cats and pet worm enjoys sleeping under the dining room table.
2. Either a single stick of Orbit gum (and only Orbit) or several one-pound Fuddruckers hamburgers satisfies my appetite.
3. The pack of quick brown foxes jump over the lazy dog.
4. Eating porkchops or zombieflesh are a certain pixelated pet dog's favorite activity.
5. It's Wednesday, and that shirt don't have enough pink (nor is it fetch).
6. Why doesn't these pants have real pockets?
7. Everybody love subject-verb agreement.
8. Several video game protagonists needs to develop more athletic skill, such as the girl from Slender or Daniel from Amnesia.
9. There's Kevins hiding somewhere in this sentence.
10. There was a lie; there were only one Kevin.
11. You need to stop believing that fetch will ever happen, but at least you agrees with me that Beemo is the best.
12. The bus, which skips all the bus stops so that the children can't go home to meet their folks and introduce themselves, need a better driver.
Common Errors
"Let's go catch some jellyfish, Patrick!"
"Sorry, Spongebob, but I feel like something's stuck in my head. I'll skip jellyfish catching for today."
"Hey dude, it's okay. Your loss. LOOK, A JELLYFISH!"
"What am I going to do today?"
Down in Bikini Bottom, there lived two very interesting creatures.
...2 hours later...
THE CHALLENGE
Patrick wrote a story about his day! As you will see, however, he still doesn't quite grasp subject-verb agreement. It's all on you to fix his narrative before Kevin finds out and makes Patrick a four-legged starfish.
Patrick wakes up one morning looking for his friend Spongebob. After searching for a long time, he remembers that Spongebob and his snail is on vacation.
Patrick, rather bored, lying on the ground while looking at the blue sky even though he lives in an ocean full of jellyfish, think about what to do.
Patrick decides to float to the surface to explore the world above. Somehow, either the waves or the wind push him so far away that he lands next to a weird triangular tower with a bell at its apex.
Slipping into green doors are fun for him. He enters a classroom where a gentleman with seemingly waxed hairs are saying, “Life is good… until you die.”
There's bunches of letters and numbers on the board, and Patrick decides to quickly run away from the scary number with this depressing thought in mind.
In another room, a female teacher with accents Patrick has never heard before announce to her class, “…and your tests SUCKS.” Rows of fearful and ashamed children stare at their desks, while Patrick notes the huge cabinet with hundreds of glass containers in the front of the room.
"There is too many sad thoughts in this place, could it get any worse?" he thought.
With only enough time for one more class before he suffocate (from both lack of usable oxygen and depression), Patrick visits another classroom hoping for an optimistic end to his day.
Luckily no class are going on, which means no depressing quotes right? Wrong again. Patrick turns to his left and finds a huge portrait with the words, “BE SPECIFIC or else you’ll wind up on the streets, homeless and addicted to drugs, married to a guy named Jethro.”
Before diving back into the water he shouts, “Thank goodness I don’t live in this world!!!!!!!” When he arrives back home, there's new shipments of pens that he ordered online. And he decides to write a letter to Spongebob.
It demands that YOU write an example for exclusively singular pronouns.
A WILD QUIZ APPEARS.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Fewer
children
realize
that the ice cream is poisoned when arsenic is used instead of cyanide.
Many
of the long-term test subjects
die
from diabetes or obesity because the amount of sugar is far higher than the amount of poison.
These are treated as plural nouns.
Fix the sentences!
I agree that I am the best.
shhhhh
“You would, never ever guess where I was and, what I heard, on my vacation I, the important, went on today," he write.
Poor Patrick. He just can't get it down.
Works Cited
THANK YOU for listening to our (hopefully entertaining) presentation.
We hope you learned as much as our little pink echinoderm friend.
1. Once the data
is/are
published, there is no going back.
2. The number of ice cream containers contaminated
is/are
two.
3. When data for cyanide and arsenic
was/were
compared, the researchers found that the latter was much more effective.
4. A series of data points
is/are
found online.
One (Last) Thing
Remember the pre-quiz?
1. is
2. is
3. were
4. are
(all images from Tumblr)
Works Cited

Paiz, Joshua M., Chris Berry, and Allen Brizee. "Making Subjects and Verbs Agree." Purdue OWL: Subject/Verb Agreement. Purdue Owl, 5 May 2012. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.

Schall, Joe. "Subject / Verb Agreement." Www.e-education.psu.edu. Joe Schall, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.

"Subject-Verb Agreement." Subject-Verb Agreement. Ed. R.W. Burchfield. Capital Community College Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.

"Tumblr." Tumblr. Tumblr, n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2013.
Props to Adventure Time and Marceline for setting him straight.
Full transcript